Russia is the largest country in the world by area, stretching to over 6,000 miles, and its sprawling landmass will play host this year to the biggest sporting tournament in the world—the World Cup.
Spending close to USD11 billion in total to roll out the red carpet, Russia will host 64 games throughout 12 stadiums stretching from the far northern tip bordering Finland down to the far southern reaches of the Ural Mountains.
This year plenty of scrutinization has been going on over the fixtures, and from the 32 teams vying for a place on the podium, 2014 World Cup winners Germany remain the firm favourites.
Whilst we wait for the teams to kick off, we have put together a sample of just a handful of Russia’s best stadiums to give you an idea of the sheer quality that these teams will be surrounded by.
First up is the country’s pride and joy, the Luzhniki Stadium, which is deep in the heart of Moscow and holds up to 81,000 people. It was originally built in 1956 but then refurbished in the 1990s and then again in 2017. It was where the Moscow Olympics was held in 1980 and is one of only five stadiums in the world to host each of the World Cup, Champions League and Summer Olympics in one venue. Expect some fiery matches to be played over here.
Next stop is the Spartak Stadium situated in the northwest of Moscow. Seating up to 43,000 people, it is home to its favorite footballing sons, Spartak Moscow, the most successful domestic footballing club in the nation. The stadium was originally built in 2014, and the outside of the structure displays hundreds of connected diamonds that can reflect the colors of the team playing there.
Approximately 265 miles north of Moscow is the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, another brand-new stadium built just for the World Cup. Construction started on this venue in 2015, and it was built to reflect the Volga region surrounding it, which is primarily known for its nature. It is a peaceful setting, indeed. This stadium can hold up to 45,000 people.
Moving over to Russia’s sister capital of St. Petersburg, the St. Petersburg Stadium holds up to almost 70,000 people and is Russia’s northernmost venue, touching the tip of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The stadium is one of the most technologically-advanced in the world, having been influenced by the Toyota Stadium in Toyota City, Japan. It features a retractable roof and a sliding pitch. After the World Cup is over, it will become home to the domestic football team Zenit St. Petersburg.
And lastly, it was only four years ago that the city of Sochi experienced the Winter Olympics, where it’s star stadium, the Fisht Stadium, was celebrated by athletes across the world. Now it will have another go at being celebrated by world-class athletes. Located over 1000 miles from Moscow, this stadium was built to resemble the snowy peaks around the area, and it can hold up to 47,000 people.
We hope we’ve given you a decent taste of Russia’s best pitches and turfs. With only a couple of weeks away until the World Cup kicks off, officials across 12 stadiums will be scrambling to put the final touches to the greatest show on earth. May the best team win!