In less than 24 hours, the attention of the world shift to Russia, where 32 teams will be competing for world football’s most important trophy.
The opening ceremony and the first match of the tournament will take place at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, which has been specially constructed for the competition.
Here are 10 facts about the the venue and opening ceremony.
- The football pitch has natural grass sown with grass seeds. The natural grass was later stitched with artificial grass to make it 18 centimetres deep below the soil surface.
- Because of the stadium’s hybrid of natural grass and synthetic reinforcement, the stadium can take up to eight hours of non-stop football.
- The stadium is the 10th largest football stadium in Europe, with 81,000 seating capacity.
- Because of Moscow’s weather, kilometres of drainage, heating and watering grids were engineered underneath the grass-covered areas of the stadium.
- The stadium has shock-proof roofing material, which lets the sun through to the natural grass of the pitch.
- The stadium has navigation and information support from volunteers, Information (children registration point, stroller storage, lost and found office), Audio-descriptive commentary for fans who are blind or visually impaired, seating options for plus-size spectators, stands special observation areas for people on wheelchairs and accompanying persons.
- The stadium was the venue for the 2008 Champions League final, where Manchester United beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout.
- Because of World Cup, the original stadium was demolished in 2013 to give way for the construction of a new stadium which was completed in 2017.
- Apart from been the venue for the opening game, it is also the venue for the final. The stadium will then join Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Munich’s Olympiastadion, Saint Denis’ Stade de France and London’s old Wembley Stadium as the only stadiums to have hosted the finals of the FIFA World Cup, UEFA’s European Cup/Champions League and featured as a main stadium of the Summer Olympic Games.
- UK pop star Robbie Williams, American Actor Will Smith and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina will perform at the opening ceremony.
- The World Cup trophy will be presented by Brazil icon and two-time world champion Ronaldo.
- Concurrently, there will be another concert occurring at the Red Square in Moscow where stars such as Placido Dominguez and Juan Diego Flores will perform.