MOSCOW (Luzhniki Stadium)

 

                Capacity:              80,000

                Opening:             1956 (renovated 2017)

                Estimated cost:                 $385 million

 

The historic crucible of Soviet and Russian sport, Luzhniki is the national squad's home ground and venue for major political events, such as big speeches by President Vladimir Putin. It was gutted and rebuilt for the World Cup, turning it into a football-specific venue. Only its original facade remains.

 

 

 

 

MOSCOW (Spartak Stadium))

 

                Capacity:              45,000

                Opening:             2014

                Estimated cost:                 $235 million

 

Russia's most popular team by a wide margin, Spartak Moscow had no place to call home until the red and white arena opened to great fanfare four years ago. Spartak fans also think their stadium has the best atmosphere, although that point is up for debate.

 

 

 

ST PETERSBURG (Petersburg Stadium)

 

                Capacity:              68,000

                Opening:             2017

                Estimated cost:                 $700-$775 million

 

Under construction for more than a decade due to bureaucratic red tape and graft, the majestic arena cost about three times more than planned. Russia's most high-tech arena, with a retractable roof and pitch, will host some of the tournament's most glamorous matches, including ones played by Argentina and Brazil.

 

 

 

KAZAN (Kazan Arena)

 

                Capacity:              45,000

                Opening:             2013

                Estimated cost:                 $230 million

 

Built for the 2013 University Games, Kazan Arena has grand ambitions, with Russian authorities thinking of proposing it as a future Summer Olympics venue. The Arena will host one Round 16 tie and a quarter-final of the showpiece event alongside four round group matches starting from June 16.

 

 

 

SOCHI (Fisht Stadium)

 

                Capacity:              48,000

                Opening:             2014 (renovated 2017)

                Estimated cost:                 $380 million+

 

Situated not far from Putin's vacation home on the Black Sea and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Fisht Stadium is Russia's most scenic football venue. Sadly for locals, Sochi has no team and the stadium's future purpose remains unclear.

 

 

 

VOLGOGRAD (Volgograd Arena)

 

                Capacity:              45,000

                Opening:             2018

                Estimated cost:                 $260 million

 

Reminiscent of the "Bird's Nest" stadium that hosted the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Volgograd Arena was built on the site of the Battle of Stalingrad, the heroic turning point of World War II in which two million people died. The stadium is now the focal point of a major city renovation project.

 

 

 

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Stadium

 

                Capacity:              45,000

                Opening:             2018

                Estimated cost:                 $275 million

 

With elegant, wave-like stands resembling those of Marseille's Stade Velodrome, the Volga River stadium will be home to a brand-new local team after the World Cup. The Stadium will host one Round 16 tie and a quarter-final of the event alongside four round group matches starting from June 18.

 

 

 

ROSTOV (ROSTOV ARENA)

 

                Capacity:              45,000

                Opening:             2018

                Estimated cost:                 $320 million

 

The southern Russia city sits just 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the war zone in east Ukraine, where a four-year conflict has killed more than 10,000 people. Russia is taking extensive security measures to make sure the fans are safe. The Arena will also host on of the Round 16 matches.

 

 

 

SAMARA (Samara Arena)

 

                Capacity:              45,000

                Opening:             2018

                Estimated cost:                 $305 million

 

Samara Arena made international headlines when FIFA noticed a few months ago that it still had no pitch. The grass was finally delivered from Germany in April, and the stadium -- while not looking as majestic as originally envisioned after some corners were cut -- is ready for action.

 

 

 

SARANSK (Mordovia Arena)

 

                Capacity:              45,000

                Opening:             2018

                Estimated cost:                 $265 million

 

No matter which way you put it, Mordovia Arena is a bit of a mystery. Never famous for its football, Saransk had a miniature airport and no modern hotels until the World Cup, with the region best known for being a wilderness where Russia put most of its female penal colonies. The city now has a brand-new arena.

 

 

 

 

EKATERINBURG Arena

 

                Capacity:              35,000

                Opening:             1957 (renovated 2018)

                Estimated cost:                 $210 million

 

To locals' distress, fans had a good laugh at Yekaterinburg's expense for building an arena with two vertiginous stands entirely outside the arena. The stands overlook a nearby highway, although organisers say they also offer a nice city view. The stands will only seat Russians and be dismantled after the tournament.

 

 

 

KALININGRAD (Baltika Arena)

 

                Capacity:              35,000

                Opening:             2018

                Estimated cost:                 $280 million

 

Russia's westernmost city, nestled between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea, is also one of its most European, having been part of the East Prussia and Germany until World War II. The stadium's construction got off to a shaky start because organisers decided to build it on a swamp.