A somewhat controversial choice to host a World Cup, Russia will be welcoming the world in 2018.
There are no doubts about Russia being ready, they are out to impress and gain a few new friends, while billions watch from across the globe.
Here we take an early look at the stunning World Cup venues being used this summer in our Russia 2018 stadium guide.
Luzhniki Stadium- MOSCOW
This recently developed behemoth will be the venue for the final and holds a massive 81,000 fans. After redevelopment, the capacity will go up to an incredible 89,000.
The 2008 Champions League final was played here between Chelsea and Man Utd.
This Moscow centerpiece was built in 1956 but only the outside remains intact from the early years.
Spartak Stadium- MOSCOW
The Otkritie Arena as its usually known holds 45,000 seats and is famous for its behind goal lifesize statues of the Starostin brothers who founded the club.
This stadium generates a terrific intimidating atmosphere and despite its comparatively low capacity promises to be one of the loudest venues in Russia.
Kazan Stadium – KAZAN
A hit with fans at the recent Confederations Cup, the 2013 built Kazan Arena is home to Ruben Kazan.
This stadium is notable for the largest outside video screen in Europe and at 45,000 seats is on the small side but makes up for it with comfort and facilities praised by many in the summer.
Mordovia Arena – SARANSK
This modern looking masterpiece will be home to FC Mordovia Saransk after the tournament even though they would never be able to fill it. The capacity will be reduced from 45,000 to 28,000 after the summer showpiece.
Mordovia is actually a republic around 500 km south east of Moscow but is part of the Russian Federation .
Rostov Arena – ROSTOV
This stadium has had its problems mainly due to the close proximity of the Don river. They also found perfectly preserved shells underneath when construction began in 2013.
We are sure everything will be fine when this 45,000 arena is finished….
Fisht Olympic Stadium – SOCHI
This arena was originally an indoor arena built for the winter Olympics. With around 45,000 seats this will be a nice addition to the world cup venues and is one of the few that no club side can call home.
Volgograd Arena – VOLGOGRAD
This brand new venue is 1000 miles away from Moscow which is the reason it won’t host any knock out matches.
Housing nearly 46,000 fans it will become the home of FC Rotor Volgograd after the World Cup. Not great for an away day for the Russian teams making Plymouth and Newcastle look like a local derby.
Yekaterinburg Arena – YEKATERINBURG
Is anyone else terrified when looking at this picture? A novel way to increase capacity or a deathtrap? I really can’t decide but if the wind gets up I’d rather be inside, thanks.
35,000 fans will brave the elements inside and outside come the summer.
Nizhny Novgorod Arena – Nizhny Novgorod
A 45,000 seater again close to a river, It is next to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and across the water from the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin, creating an impressive backdrop.
Kaliningrad Stadium – Kaliningrad
Such is the size of Russia, this arena is closer to Stockholm than Moscow and is not actually on the mainland. It lies between Lithuania and Poland and holds 35,000.
St Petersburg Stadium – ST PETERSBURG
Another stadium with build problems and is an incredible 8 years late. 67,000 football fans will be in here for a semi final and the third place play off.
Samara Arena – SAMARA
The Samara Arena gives a nod to the Russian space program with its space-age theme and glass roof. It will host 45,000 fans in the summer and afterward will be home to Kylia Sovetov. Well, aren’t they the lucky ones.
If you are going to Russia, stay safe and do your research about the local area. Russia will surprise a few people this summer, in a good way.