Russia 2018 to start and finish at Luzhniki Stadium
© AFP

On 14 December 2012, at their latest meeting in Tokyo, the FIFA Executive Committee approved the Hosting Concept for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, with both the Opening Match and Final set to be played at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The legendary arena will thus join an elite list of stadiums that have hosted both matches at world football's greatest competition.

Since Luzhniki Stadium was first opened in 1956, it has hosted a number of international sports events, including the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1980 Olympic Games, the 2008 UEFA Champions League final and the world championships of a variety of sports. The arena will be closed for major renovation work in August 2013, before re-opening five years later to reveal its new image to visitors to Russia 2018.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Hosting Concept approved by the FIFA Executive Committee stipulates that Luzhniki will also host one of the tournament’s semi-finals, while the other will be played in St Petersburg.

The future stadium in St Petersburg, which is under construction on Krestovsky Island, will also host matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 - according to the FIFA Executive Committee’s decision. The three other venues set to host matches at Russia 2017 are Spartak Moskva's arena and stadiums in Kazan and Sochi.

"The approval of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 Hosting Concept is an important decision that gives the competitions real shape. We anticipate a big and exciting job organizing a FIFA World Cup that will start a new page in the history of Russian and world football," said Aleksey Sorokin, CEO of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee, after the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Tokyo.