World Cup 2018: A Closer Look at the 12 Stadiums in Russia

What can fans expect from the 12 arenas at the 2018 World Cup in Russia?
World Cup 2018: A Closer Look at the 12 Stadiums in Russia Newsweek

The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins on June 14 in Moscow, when the hosts face Saudi Arabia at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. The final will be played in the same venue on July 15.

With a capacity of 81,000, Luzhniki, which reopened this year on the site of the 1980 Olympic stadium, is the largest of the tournament's 12 venues. One other stadium is in Moscow, and the rest are spread out across the vast country.

The other 10 cities hosting matches are Kaliningrad, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Sochi, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd and Kazan.

The tournament involves 32 national teams, including current champions Germany and World Cup newcomers Iceland and Panama. Sadly, the U.S. failed to qualify.

This is the first World Cup to be held in Europe since Germany hosted in 2006, and the stakes are high for Russia to impress. The Kremlin is so eager to use the global sporting event to shake their unfriendly and brusque reputation that Russian public transport authorities are even teaching their workers how to smile in preparation for the impending hordes of global sports fans.

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So what can fans expect from the arenas at this World Cup? We've collected details of all 12 stadiums, including pictures of exterior and interiors, as well as aerial or satellite images of each venue. We'll even take you for a quick peek inside some of the locker rooms to set the scene of this year's soccer mega-event.

Aerial view of Luzhniki Stadium and the Moskva River in Moscow. Capacity: 81,000. Opening match: Russia vs Saudi Arabia on Thursday June 14, 2018. Dmitry Serebryakov/AFP