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Brush up on your Russian stadium knowledge for the World Cup

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Since the 2018 FIFA World Cup is underway, what better time than now to brush up on your Russian stadium knowledge?

This is the first time the World Cup is being hosted in Eastern Europe and when FIFA awarded the tournament to Russia, the country’s then-general secretary said he wanted to take soccer into new lands and to expand the sport’s horizons.

We all know that Russia is the world’s largest country, so it’s no surprise that they have a lot of stadiums hosting games at this year’s tournament. Here’s what you need to know about all 12 of them and the cities they’re located in.

Moscow

Moscow is to Russia as Ottawa is to Canada (aka it’s Russia’s capital and is a huge tourist destination). With a population of 12.5 million people, Moscow is home to one of the largest stadiums in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Luzhniki Stadium

  • SEATS: 81,000
  • FUN FACT: Although it’s the largest football stadium in Russia and one of the largest in Europe, it’s not technically new. It was built in 1956 – and was the main stadium for the 1980 Olympics. However, the original stadium was demolished in 2013 for construction of a new stadium.
  • WATCH: Luzhniki Stadium will host seven matches, including the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia, a semi-final and the final match.

 

Sparkak Stadium

  • SEATS: 45,000
  • FUN FACT: This stadium is home to one of Russia’s most popular football team – FC Spartak Moscow and features hundreds of diamonds, reminiscent of a chainmail, and can change colors depending on the teams that are playing.
  • WATCH: Sparkak Stadium will host five matches and will welcome teams Argentina, Iceland, Poland, Senegal, Belgium, Tunisia, Serbia and Brazil.

 

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is a Russian port city on the Baltic Sea with a population of 5 million people. It’s Russia’s second largest city.

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St. Petersburg Stadium

  • SEATS: 67,000
  • FUN FACT: This stadium opened in 2017 and cost more than 1.1 billion USD to build. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive stadiums ever built, which explains why it was 518 per cent over budget.
  • WATCH: St. Petersburg Stadium will host Morocco, Iran, Russia, Egypt, Brazil, Croatia, Nigeria and Argentina in four group stage matches and will also host one match from the round of 16, one semi-final match and the playoff for the third place – this is the only stadium to host seven matches at the FIFA World Cup.

 

Sochi

Does Sochi sound familiar to you? It hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, better remembered for their washroom accommodations. #SochiProblems

Fisht Olympic Stadium

  • SEATS: 48,000
  • FUN FACT: This was originally an enclosed stadium until the 2014 Winter Olympics, hosting both the opening and closing ceremonies.
  • WATCH: Fisht Olympic Stadium will host six matches at the World Cup welcoming teams Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Panama, Germany, Sweden, Australia and Peru – this stadium will also host one round of 16 match and s one of the quarterfinals.

 

Ekaterinburg

Ekaterinburg has a population of 1.3 million people and is about a 2-hour flight east of Moscow or a 25-hour train ride. Bonus: The trains are free throughout the World Cup!

 

Ekaterinburg Arena

  • SEATS: 35,000
  • FUN FACT: Did you know that Ekaterinburg is where the last Czar Nicholas II and his family were exiled? Incidentally, July 17 will mark the 100-year anniversary of their deaths.
  • WATCH: Ekaterinburg Arena will host four group stage matches of the FIFA World Cup featuring Egypt, Uruguay, France, Peru, Japan, Senegal, Mexico and Sweden between June 15th and June 27th.

 

Kazan

Kazan is often called “the Sports Capital of Russia” for hosting a lot of big sporting events and is also a tourist hotspot in Russia.

Kazan Arena

  • SEATS: 45,000
  • FUN FACT: Kazan Arena is home to FC Rubin Kazan and is one of the largest outside screen in Europe.
  • WATCH: Kazan Arena will host six games in total – four Group stage games, one Round of 16 and one quarterfinal; welcoming France, Australis, Iran, Spain, Poland, Colombia, Korea Republic and Germany between June 16th and July 6th.

 

Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod has a population of 1.2 million people and used to be called Gorky, after writer Maxim Gorky, from 1932 to 1990 but is now called “Nizhny” for short.

  • STADIUM: Nizhny Novgorod Arena
  • SEATS: 45,000
  • FUN FACT: This arena was built at the confluence of the Oka and Volga rovers – which used to be a port for cargo ships.
  • WATCH: Nizhny Novgorod Arena will host four group stage matches featuring teams Sweden, Korea Republic, Argentina, Croatia, England, Panama, Switzerland and Costa Rica and will also host one round of 16 match and a quarterfinal.

 

Rostov-On-Don

Rostov-On-Don is a two-hour flight south of Moscow or an hour flight north of Sochi. It’s known as a port city on the Sea of Azov, off the Black Sea or “the Gateway to the Caucasus” and has a population of 1 million people.

Rostov Arena

  • SEATS: 45,000
  • FUN FACT: Post the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the stadium will become home to FC Rostov and cut the seating capacity to 25,000.
  • WATCH: Rostov Arena will host teams Brazil, Switzerland, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia, Korea Republic, Mexico, Iceland and Croatia across four Group Stage matches and one round of 16 tie.

 

Samara

Samara is home to 1 million people making it the sixth largest city in Russia. This University helped pioneer Russia’s space program which would help to explain the theme of the Samara Arena.

Samara Arena

  • SEATS: 45,000
  • FUN FACT: This arena features a space-theme, reflecting the region’s well-known aerospace sector. After the World Cup, this arena will be renamed to Cosmos Arena.
  • WATCH: Samara Arena will host Costa Rica, Serbia, Denmark, Uruguay, Russia, Senegal and Colombia in four Group Stage games and will also host one round of 16 tie and a quarterfinal.

 

Saransk

Saransk is a nine-hour drive southeast of Moscow or about a one hour flight. With a population of 300,000 people, this is one of Russia’s smaller cities hosting World Cup matches.

Mordovia Arena

  • SEATS: 44,000
  • FUN FACT: This stadium was based on the image of the sun, which is the main symbol of ancient myths in the area.
  • WATCH: Mordovia Arena is set to host four Group stage matches featuring teams Peru, Denmark, Colombia, Japan, Iran, Portugal, Panama and Tunisia.

 

Volgograd

Volgograd is home to one million people and was once the battle ground of Stalingrad in the second World War which lead to the renaming to Volgograd in 1961. 

Volgograd Arena

  • SEATS: 45,000
  • FUN FACT: A light installation will be shown to all visitors for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, showing the Russian perspective of major events of World War II.
  • WATCH: Volgograd Arena will host four Group stage matches welcoming teams Tunisia, England, Nigeria, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Japan and Poland to their stadium.

 

Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad is actually in a part of Russia that isn’t actually attached to the rest of Russia. It’s about a two-hour flight west (over Belarus and Lithuania) because it sits on the Baltic Sea and practically on the border of Poland.

Kaliningrad Stadium

  • SEATS: 35,000
  • FUN FACT: This is most accessible stadium to the rest of Europe.
  • WATCH: The Kaliningrad Stadium will host four Group stage matches featuring Croatia, Nigeria, Serbia, Switzerland, Spain, Morocco, England and Belgium. 

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