As the FIFA World Cup draws nearer, many people are turning their attentions to the various teams and superstars involved in all the action.
However, part of the spectacle will be the hosts Russia and how they will celebrate the most prestigious competition in international football.
As the first Eastern European country to host the competition, Russia also holds the distinction of being the biggest country geographically to play as hosts.
With that, the country has assigned 12 stadiums in 11 cities to host these matches.
Here is a closer look at these stadiums.
LUZHNIKI STADIUM – MOSCOW
The first on the list is Luzhinki Stadium in Moscow that will host the World Cup opener as well as the final on July 15.
It has the capacity of over 81,000 and has been renovated multiple times to help cater to various events in Moscow, with the 1980 Summer Olympic Games being one of them.
The stadium surface is grass and teams like CSKA Moscow, Spartak Moscow and Torpedo Moscow once called this stadium home.
Throughout the competition, Luzhniki will host four group stage match-ups and three games in the knockout stages.
SPARTAK STADIUM – MOSCOW
Opened in 2014, Spartak Stadium now hosts home games of Spartak Moscow. They have a capacity of over 45,000 and it currently hosts all of Russia’s national games.
Like Luzhniki, Spartak Stadium is owned by the government and should be one of the highlights during the knockout stages.
One of the main attractions in the stadium is the chain-like links shaped like diamonds and illuminates the colour of their host team. However, they can also change colours to properly reflect the teams playing.
Four group stage games will be featured in Spartak Stadium but only one knockout match will be played on this ground.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD STADIUM – NIZHNY NOVGOROD
Just West of Moscow is Nizhny Novgorod Stadium and it was one of the stadiums specifically made for the FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately, this did not open in time for the Confederations Cup but the 44,899-capacity stadium will be highlighted in the World Cup.
FC Olimpiyets Nizhny Novgorod play here during their home games and it boasts a beautiful facade led by a roof that appears to be floating.
Their host team plays second tier football so many are anticipating the matches to be played here during the World Cup.
Four group stage and two knockout games will be played in this ground.
MORDOVIA ARENA – SARANSK
Using South Africa’s Soccer City Stadium as their reference, Mordovia Arena in Saransk was supposed to be built in 2010, building stalled and only completed late in 2017. It broke ground again in 2018 to be one of the featured stadiums in the World Cup.
Normally able to house around 30,000 fans in a regular game, this stadium will be able to welcome more than 44,000 screaming fans during the World Cup.
FC Mordovia Saransk call this pitch home and this stadium will be active only during the group stages as four matches will be held in this ground.
KAZAN ARENA – KAZAN
A stadium founded in 2013, Kazan Arena is where FC Rubin Kazan plays at home and is another aesthetically pleasing stadiums for the World Cup.
The top panels of the stadium are LED which is the largest outdoor screen in the continent.
Around 45,000 is the maximum capacity of the stadium.
Four group stage games will be held here, as well as two in the knockout stages which include one quarterfinal match.
SAMARA ARENA – SAMARA
Before the stadium officially opened, Samara Arena was supposedly located near a deserted island near the south of the city. Fortunately, plans changed and they were eventually moved within the city limits.
Nearly 45,000 fans can fit in the stadium and FC Krylia Sovetov Samara use this ground for their home games.
Four group stage games will be played here, including a Group A clash of the hosts when they face another top team in Uruguay.
Two knockout stage games will also feature in this ground.
EKATERINBURG ARENA – EKATERINBURG
One of the older stadiums featured in the competition, the Ekaterinburg Arena initially opened back in 1957 and are home to FC Ural Ekaterinburg.
It was renovated through 2006 to 2011 and was refurnished again to have temporary stands and roofs for the World Cup.
One of the smallest arenas in terms of capacity, Ekaterinburg Arena can fit a little over 35,000 fans.
As a result, only four group stage games will be held here.
ST. PETERSBURG STADIUM – ST. PETERSBURG
Originally known as the Zenit Arena or the Krestovsky Stadium, it will be renamed to the St. Petersburg Stadium for the FIFA World Cup competition.
Located near the Neva River, this stadium is the northernmost venue for the football event.
It can house over 67,000 fans in the competition and is called home by FC Zenit Saint Petersburg.
The first on the list to feature three games in the knockout stages, St. Petersburg will also house four group stage matches throughout the competition.
KALININGRAD STADIUM – KALININGRAD
The smallest venue in the World Cup, Kaliningrad Stadium is only capable of 35,212 seats for fans.
However, it is one of the most beautiful arenas to be part of the competition, with lights illuminated throughout the facade to definitely turn heads.
This stadium faces the Baltic Sea and its borders are Lithuania and Poland.
With the minimal capacity, only four group stages are to be played in this venue, but a marquee battle of England vs Belgium will be played here.
VOLGOGRAD ARENA – VOLGOGRAD
Called home by FC Rotor Volgograd, Volgograd Arena replaced Central Stadium when the latter was closed down and eventually demolished back in 2014.
This is another stadium built specifically for the World Cup and has the looks that many compared to a bicycle spoke to give it an airy look.
Around 45,000 fans can watch the games here but only four group stage clashes will be viewed in this arena.
ROSTOV ARENA – ROSTOV-ON-DON
Another stadium built for the World Cup, construction of Rostov Arena began in 2013 and many remember this as the ground where many World War II intact shells were found.
FC Rostov use this as their home ground and the team is best known for their 2014 victory in the Russian Cup.
Over 45,000 is the stadium’s full capacity, but it will dwindle down to 25,000 once the World Cup concludes.
Four group stage and one knockout stage games will be played on this ground.
FISHT STADIUM – SOCHI
Another stadium owned by the government, Fisht Olympic Stadium is the southernmost venue for the World Cup.
The area is known for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the stadium was originally founded back in 2013.
No teams currently lease this as their home, and it will feature four group stage games and two games in the knockout stages.
The first game it will host in the competition is a great battle between Portugal and Spain.