Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will become the main arena of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Luzhniki will house the tournament opening match Russia — Saudi Arabia (together with the opening ceremony), the group stage matches (Germany — Mexico, Portugal — Morocco, Denmark — France), the match of the last 16, the semi-final and the main final match of the tournament. Also, the closing ceremony will take place at the stadium.
Luzhniki Stadium Seating Chart
How to get to the stadium
Visitors can easily get to Luzhniki Stadium by metro. Near the stadium there are two metro stations “Sportivnaya” and “Luzhniki”. Another metro station “Vorobyovy Gory” is within a walking distance to the stadium. Also, it is possible to get to Luzhniki by bus 15 and 5, and also trolleybus 79k, 28 and 31.
Luzhniki Stadium on the Moscow map:
Luzhniki Stadium is a part of the big sports complex. The complex construction started in 1955, and in the summer of 1956 the first match was held there, as well as the first Spartakiad of Peoples of the USSR. In total, the construction of such a large-scale and serious structure took 450 days which was a record! The whole complex covers a big sports arena, an indoor hockey arena, a water center, a swimming pool, tennis courts and other sports facilities. Moreover, not only professional athletes could train there, but also amateurs — the arena was open for all comers. At the Luzhniki area there were tens of sections in different sports opened.
Thanks to its multifunctional, Luzhniki repeatedly hosted large competitions in different sports. The Spartakiads (usually the Spartakiads were held in the USSR on the eve of the Olympic Games), the World Cups in different sports (hockey, motorcycle races, speed skating, track and field athletics) were held in the complex for several times. In 1980 Moscow had honor to host the Summer Olympics, the largest sports competition of four years. Luzhniki became the main arena for competitions, as well as for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games.
In the Luzhniki contemporary history there are two final duels of the largest football tournaments. In 1999 the stadium received the final of the UEFA Cup, and in 2008 Luzhniki had honor to host the main football contest of the year — the final of Champions League between Chelsea and Manchester United.
There is a tragically page in the stadium history. In October, 1982 there was an ordinary competition on the stadium within the round of last 32 of the UEFA Cup between Moscow Spartak and Dutch Haarlem. The weather was frosty, therefore on tiers there were a bit over 15 thousand spectators. The stadium management made a decision to let people take seats only on two tiers, and most fans were sitting on the nearest to the metro. Taking into account a strong cold, many spectators started leaving the stadium a few minutes before the match end. A girl fell down the stairs which caused crowd disaster resulted in 66 killed. Most killed were young people not older than 18.
In the 90th there were the evil days for Luzhniki. That time in Russia was not for football — the country was choking with poverty and gangsterism. The stadium was reequipped for a large merchangise market. But in the late millennium the stadium was reconstructed again and certified for the largest competitions. Great football came back to the stadium.
The main feature of Luzhniki is its age. The main arena of the country became the only stadium of the World Cup which was not under a modern project from greenfield but under reconstruction. This feature has both pluses and minuses. Certainly, the arena pluses are its location and transport accessibility. The Luzhniki Sports Complex is in one of the most prestigious districts of the capital on the Moskva River bank, near the historical building of Moscow State Univercsity and the observation site on Vorobyovy Gory. The are two metro stations near the arena, so spectators can easily get to the stadium.
In the course of the arena reconstruction the tiers slop angle was significantly changed to let fans from the top sectors be closer to the pitch and feel as a part of the football match. The huge media screen on the stadium roof will become another features of the modernized arena.
The stadium area will also be improved considerably. Luzhnetskaya Embankment will be expanded at the expense of highways to give place to bicycle and run tracks. Around the arena there will be pavilions for spectators, as well as modern information terminals where fans can obtain the multi language information on events and city routes.
Even before reconstruction Luzhniki was certified by the UEFA Commission for the highest category, therefore the stadium has a successful experience of holding the most responsible and significant matches. The most significant international match successfully carried out by Luzhniki became the Champions League final in 2008 between English teams Chelsea and Manchester United.
Stadium weak points
Perhaps, the stadium capacity is one of the stadium problems. On the one hand, it is great that 80 thousand spectators will be able to see the most important matches of the FIFA World Cup, and also the bright and colorful opening and closing ceremonies. On the other hand, it is not really comfortable to enjoy football on a huge arena — whatever the modern project of the stadium, spectators on the top tiers in Luzhniki are sitting very far from the field. Before the reconstruction 8000 seats in Luzhniki were considered as “limited visibility” (really there were about 20 thousand such seats). After modernization the number of such places will be reduced, but not eliminated completely.
Luzhniki, undoubtedly, is the main sports facility in Russia and deserves to hold the most top matches of the World Cup.