Top Things to Know About FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Exactly in a day's time, Russia is set to host the biggest and the grandest football carnival of all times - FIFA World Cup 2018. As the first fixtures begin on 14 June, what follows would be a month full of exciting games, thrilling face-offs, high-profile clashes, and mad cheering, leading up to the grand finale on 15 July. As 32 teams compete for what has historically been the sport's most prestigious trophy, the focus will be as much on the giants of the footballing world as on the upcoming stars. 

Hosting 64 matches, from the group stage to the finals, Russia will be on the mind of every football fan in the world. The FIFA World Cup 2018 will cost Russia almost $12 billion and the matches will be conducted at 12 stadiums in 11 different cities, all in European Russia to keep travel time manageable. As we gear up to witness this quadrennial international football tournament, here are some must-know facts about the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Players who could be playing their last World Cup

Russia 2018 could be the last chance for some of the biggest stars of the footballing fraternity to play for their respective countries in the FIFA World Cup. This makes the 2018 World Cup all the more significant and emotional for the fans from all around the world. Take a look at the list of famous footballers who could be playing their last World Cup this year-

1. Lionel Messi


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

As heart-breaking and bitter as this might seem, Russia 2018 could be the last World Cup played by the 30-year-old Argentine star Lionel Messi. He will be 34 by the Qatar tournament and it seems unlikely he will be playing for Argentina by then.

2. Mario Gomez


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A last-minute addition in Germany’s 2018 squad, Mario Gomez could be hanging up his boots before the 2022 World Cup. The former Bayern Munich star who is 32 right now, was Germany's all-time top goal-scorer in the European Championships and it will be his last chance to prove his importance in Germany’s squad. 

3. Sergio Ramos

The Spanish Squad might be losing a number of its celebrity footballers post the 2018 Russia World Cup - from the in-form David Silva and Iniesta to their star centre-back Gerard Pique. But perhaps, no loss would be as upsetting as the loss of their team's captain and all-time outfield appearance record holder Sergio Ramos. 

4. Thiago Silva

Brazil’s 33-year-old defender will look to avenge the team’s humiliating loss under his captaincy in the 2014 World Cup at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Since it is highly unlikely that he will continue to play for Brazil in the Qatar Cup when he will be 37, this is his best chance to lead his team to a victory. 

5. Cristiano Ronaldo


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Real Madrid’s showstopper and one of the best footballers in the world, 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to have a final shot at lifting the World Cup trophy for Portugal in Russia 2018. Ronaldo who has had a spectacular season in the recently concluded Champion’s League, though is in a top form, his chances of playing in Portugal’s Qatar squad are questionable. 

Young stars to watch out for

1. Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)

Brazil’s impressive striker, 20-year-old Gabriel Jesus is touted to be among the best rising talent in the world of football. The youngster, who has scored 7 goals and provided 3 assists in just 10 games for the Seleo, all in official World Cup qualifiers, is undoubtedly one of the most talented footballers in the squad of Brazil. 

2. Kylian Mbappé (France)

A rising sensation in the French footballing fraternity, the 18-year-old Kylian Mbappé scored 6 goals in the UEFA Champions League last season. So don’t forget to watch out for this fireball of talent!

3. Paulo Dybala (Argentina)

The newest entrant in the list of talented Argentine players, 23-year old Paulo Dybala won the heart of millions with his stupendous performances for Juventus. Known for his quick movement, dribbling, passing and shooting technique, Paulo Dybala will be one player to watch out for in the squad of Argentina. 

4. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

The man who scripted a fairytale qualification for Egypt, Mohamed Salah will hopefully be back on his feet in time for his games in Russia. The 25-year-old winger, who scored five times in six games in Egypt's final round of World Cup qualifiers, was injured in a clash with Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos in the UEFA Champions League. 

5. Isco (Spain)

A central midfielder with an eye for a pass, Isco is a 25-year old Spanish star who is on 6 goals for the national team. After spectacular performances for Real Madrid, Isco will be looking to deliver in Russia. 

6. Timo Werner (Germany)

A 21-year-old who guided Germany's national team to Confederations Cup triumph in June last year, Timo Werner has had a fantastic season with 5 Bundesliga goals in 6 appearances. The incredibly fast Werner is Germany’s central striker with immense pace and accuracy. 


The games of Russia World Cup will be held in 12 stadiums across 11 different cities, all in European Russia.

1. Luzhniki Stadium

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  • City Moscow
  • Capacity 80,000
  • Matches Dates - 14 June, 17 June, 20 June, 26 June, 1 July, 11 July, 15 July


2. Saint Petersburg Stadium

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  • City Saint Petersburg
  • Capacity 67,000
  • Matches Dates - 15 June, 19 June, 22 June, 26 June, 3 July, 10 July, 14 July


3. Volgograd Arena

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  • City Volgograd
  • Capacity 45,000
  • Matches Dates - 18 June, 22 June, 25 June, 28 June


4. Ekaterinburg Arena

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  • City Ekaterinburg
  • Capacity 35,000
  • Matches Dates - 15 June, 21 June, 24 June, 27 June


5. Mordovia Arena

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  • City Saransk
  • Capacity 44,000
  • Matches Dates - 16 June, 19 June, 25 June, 28 June


6. Rostov Arena

  • City Rostov-on-Don
  • Capacity 45,000
  • Matches Dates - 17 June, 20 June, 23 June, 26 June, 2 July


7. Kaliningrad Stadium

  • City Kaliningrad
  • Capacity 35,000
  • Matches Dates - 16 June, 22 June, 25 June, 28 June


8. Kazan Arena

  • City Kazan
  • Capacity 45,000
  • Matches Dates - 16 June, 20 June, 24 June, 27 June, 30 June, 6 July


9. Spartak Stadium

  • City Moscow
  • Capacity 45,000
  • Matches Dates - 16 June, 19 June, 23 June, 27 June, 3 July


10. Fisht Stadium

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  • City Sochi
  • Capacity 45,000
  • Matches Dates - 15 June, 18 June, 23 June, 26 June, 30 June, 7 July


11. Nizhny Novgorod Stadium

  • City - Nizhny Novgorod
  • Capacity 45,000
  • Matches Dates - 18 June, 21 June, 24 June, 27 June, 1 July, 6 July


12. Samara Arena

  • City Samara
  • Capacity 45,000
  • Matches Dates - 17 June, 21 June, 25 June, 28 June, 2 July, 7 July

Public Transport in Russia

Commuting between stadiums, and to and from the accommodation to the stadiums is easy in Russia. The government is providing free travel to the host cities of the tournament on special additional trains for the duration of the World Cup. This facility will be provided only to spectators who have both, an entrance ticket to a match or a document entitling them to an entrance ticket and a FAN ID. For free travel on special additional trains, you must first register via the official website. Then you will be issued one-day transport passes for each specific match. You have a number of commute options to choose from - regular trains, express trains, compartment cars, intercity buses, flights, and ferry. 

Keep in mind that you need to carry your Electronic migration card at all times as you exit one city and enter another. 


To help spectators find accommodation during the World Cup, specialised websites for booking accommodations like FIFA site, Accommodation and Service Centre for Fans, have been created. From these websites, you can book hotels, mini hotels, hostels, and apartments for your stay. 

Ticketing Information

The good news for all the fans attending the FIFA World Cup is that you don’t need a visa to travel to Russia. Your FAN ID, a personalised document with your name which is mandatory for all the ticket holders acts like your visa. The FAN ID is valid for 10 days prior and post the duration of the Russia Cup.  

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia tickets are primarily divided into four categories -  the first for the most expensive seats, the second and third for the seats outside the first zone and the fourth category at an affordable price that they can be purchased only by the citizens of Russia. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, you can still avail them under the uo;Last Minute Sales” phase on the site till July 15. 

Other Tips

  • Before you leave for the stadiums, check out the list of prohibited items and consumables available on the official website. 
  • If you wish to carry banners for the game, you need to fill out special application forms for carrying banners. 
  • The General Spectator Services like an Information Desk, ATMs, Official Gift Shops, Luggage Counters, and food and beverages counters are available at all the stadiums. 
  • FIFA will introduce a system of match observes who will monitor incidents of racism and discrimination from this year. So beware of any match hooliganism.

Oscillating between reality and day-dreaming, Meghana is a journalist by education and a travel-blogger by profession ...