Saturday 02 December 2017, 15:52

Russia 2018 stadiums ready to welcome fans

  • Matches already taking place at five of the World Cup’s 12 venues

  • The tournament’s flagship stadium, the Luzhniki in Moscow, reopened in November after renovations

  • Finishing touches being applied at seven other arenas

The Final Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ has taken place and the 32 competing nations now know their opponents in the group stage of the tournament. It is time to look through the 12 stadiums that will hold all 64 matches in Russia next year!

Five arenas are already in working order. The Spartak Stadium in Moscow, the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, the Kazan Arena and the Saint Petersburg Stadium all hosted matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 in June and July of this year. Also, Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium – the main venue for the 2018 World Cup and where the Opening Match and Final will be held – recently reopened following major reconstruction for a friendly between Russia and Argentina.

Preparations have entered their final stages at the tournament's seven other stadiums, and soon they too will be ready to welcome supporters from all over the world.

The first match of the World Cup at the Kaliningrad Stadium is on 16 June between Croatia and Nigeria – currently the venue is 90 per cent complete. The stadium’s metal structural shell has been fully assembled and weighs more than 15,000 tonnes. Seats are being fitted in the stands and decorating is ongoing in the stadium’s internal facilities.

One of the fixtures going ahead at the Volgograd Arena is Tunisia-England on 18 June. The pitch at the newly-built arena has been installed and the turf is ready ahead of the winter months. The coloured windows and entrances at the stadium are also being installed, while in the stands, seats are being put in and protective barriers erected.

On 21 June, France face Peru at the Ekaterinburg Arena, the westernmost destination at Russia 2018. Experts suggest the stadium is 98 per cent complete: the parts of the old venue that have been preserved are now fully restored and act as cultural heritage. The lighting system and multi-media façade have been constructed, the area surrounding the stadium is being redeveloped, and the facilities beneath the stadiums are being finished off.

The Nizhny Novgorod Stadium is the location for Sweden-Korea Republic on 18 June. Work on the football pitch has reached completion and preparations are in the preliminary phase to erect the front face of the stadium, which is made from a white and blue coloured wind-resistant membrane.

Colombia play Japan on 19 June at the Mordovia Arena, where the piling and casting operations have been finished, along with the assembling of the metal framework, laying of the foundations of the pitch, and planting of the grass surface. Work continues on the stadium’s roof, façade, and temporary stands.

Rostov-on-Don will welcome Brazil and Switzerland for their game on 17 June. The suspended ceilings within the Rostov Arena are being finished off, the lifts and escalators are being built, and the doors fitted in. Redevelopment continues outside the stadium and the fences marking the edge of the facility’s grounds are being constructed.

The World Cup begins at the Samara Arena with Costa Rica’s fixture against Serbia on 17 June. The roof of this stadium is still under construction and decorations are ongoing on the venue’s façade and internal facilities. Work on the pitch is also well under way.