• The Luzhniki will host seven World Cup matches including the Opening Match and Final
  • Its capacity swelled to 80,000 after a four-year renovation period
  • See the best pictures of this spectacular arena

For the 32 competing nations at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, there are only four-and-a-half more months to go until the moment they have all been waiting for. In the meantime, FIFA.com is beginning a series on the venues where the teams will be playing, starting with the arena that will host the Opening Match of the tournament on 14 June: the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.


The Luzhniki is the main stadium of the upcoming FIFA World Cup: the Opening Match, three group-stage encounters, a Round-of-16 tie, a semi-final and the Final are all being held here.


During the World Cup, the newly renovated Luzhniki Stadium will be able to accommodate 80,000 spectators. Before reconstruction, which lasted for four years, the tournament’s flagship venue could hold 78,000 people, while during the 1950s and 1960s, when it was called the Lenin Central Stadium, up to 100,000 supporters would attend the Soviet Union’s matches.

The Luzhniki is located in one of the most picturesque areas of the Russian capital, as part of a wider Olympic complex bearing the same name that spreads over 180 hectares. The Moskva River flows right alongside the stadium and there is a cable-car connecting the two. Tens of thousands of Muscovites play all kinds of sports at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex and today it is a popular place for recreation and family strolls.

Did you know?
Reconstruction of Russia 2018’s main venue started immediately after the World Championships in Athletics that took place in the summer of 2013. During the process, the Luzhniki was converted into a purely football stadium. The running track disappeared, along with the columns around the upper tier that interrupted sight lines, and the stands became less steep. A viewing platform was installed just beneath the roof of the stadium and the ceiling itself was transformed into a giant media façade. 

First games
The first football match at the new Luzhniki Stadium was on 11 November 2017, when Russia welcomed Argentina. That fixture ended 1-0 to the visitors and featured a starring performance from Sergio Aguero. The Sbornaya will next be in action at the Luzhniki on 23 March, when another leading South American national team will be in town – Brazil.

The Luzhniki has always been the biggest stadium in the country and the home ground for the national football team. This will remain the case after Russia 2018.

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