14-06-2018 16:00 - Russia 2018 Group Stage
Russia - : - Saudi Arabia
15-06-2018 13:00 - Russia 2018 Group Stage
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15-06-2018 16:00 - Russia 2018 Group Stage
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Volgograd Arena


Capacity: 45,568

Completed: Early 2018 (expected)

Cost: $280m

Games hosted at Russia 2018: Group G, 18 June; Group D, 22 June; Group A, 25 June; Group H, 28 June.

History lesson The stadium is new, but the site can tell a tale or two. Here used to stand the Central Stadium, home to Rotor Volgograd and venue for the goalless first leg of their famous Uefa Cup win over Manchester United in 1995. That was a classic Soviet bowl; its replacement, where work began in 2015 after the old ground’s demolition, looks very different and its exterior design is intended to resemble basketwork.

Star attraction The finished article should have a light, airy feel that sits well with visitors; it will be worth a pilgrimage, too, for anyone wanting to remember one of the more enduring European shock results of the 1990s.

A general view of Volgograd Arena.
The Motherland Calls statue is seen through the structure of the Volgograd Arena.

Any hitches? A few minor issues. In June a small fire broke out on the site after a welding accident, and it had to be combed thoroughly for unexploded ordnance after bombs from the Battle of Stalingrad were found in 2014. The stadium appears to be running slightly behind its originally scheduled completion, but nothing to worry about where next summer is concerned.

Legacy Rotor expect to play here although, once again, their ability to get anywhere near filling the ground is in grave doubt. It would help if they clawed their way up from rock bottom of Russia’s second division; at present it would probably take another visit from United to draw a full house. The capacity will drop by around 10,000, though.

Editor: Jim Powell

Writer: Nick Ames

Graphics: Pablo Gutierrez

Photographs AFP, AP, Fifa, Getty Images and Reuters

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