Saint Petersburg Stadium
Games hosted at Russia 2018: Morocco v Iran, 15 June; Russia v Egypt, 19 June; Brazil v Costa Rica, 22 June; Nigeria v Argentina, 26 June; Round of 16, 3 July; Semi-final, 10 July; Third place play-off, 14 July.
History lesson Krestovsky Stadium was supposed to be one of the world’s most exciting, cutting-edge sports arenas. That may still be the case but the path here has been fraught with delays, soaring costs and numerous controversies – denting the pride many in Vladimir Putin’s home city feel about its new attraction. It took a decade to build and was finished eight years after the originally mooted completion deadline. That would have predated Russia’s securing of the World Cup and made for a much smaller, lower-key venue; the project rapidly escalated in scope after 2010 and it became, according to some estimates, the world’s most expensive football stadium.
Star attraction The stadium is, for those not counting the cost at least, worth the wait. Its vertiginous stands are spectacular, the views out on to the Gulf of Finland from behind the seats are wonderful and the ‘Spaceship’ design is unmistakable. For anyone wanting to make sure of a few thrills before the football kicks off, the vast park on the approach to the ground contains a number of decidedly white-knuckle rollercoasters.