Travel topics > Activities > Sports > Spectator sports > Past events/World Cup 2018
|Past events/World Cup 2018: This event has closed and is no longer open to the public. The next World Cup will be held in Qatar in 2022.|
The 2018 FIFA World Cup was held in Russia from 14 June – 15 July 2018. 32 teams representing 5 football confederations played 64 matches in 12 venues spread out among 11 cities. All but one of the stadium venues were in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains to keep travel time manageable.
The final tournament involved 32 national teams, which included 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the host team (Russia) which qualified automatically.
The final was won by France on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Last-minute sales will be open until 15 July 2018. You can apply online for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia tickets. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to availability.
A traffic light system on FIFA.com/tickets will give fans an indication about ticket availability. Due to the launch of the official ticket resale platform and the possible release of ticket inventories reserved for selected FIFA constituent groups, tickets for specific matches, which at some point could be unavailable, may possibly become available again at FIFA.com/tickets.
FIFA Venue Ticketing Centres (FVTC) are open in all 2018 FIFA World Cup Host Cities. You can purchase tickets over the counter at the FVTCs, depending on availability.
The general visa policy of Russia will not apply to the World Cup participants and fans, who will be able to visit Russia without a visa right before and during the competition regardless of their citizenship.
Although all of the matches will be held in European Russia, the distances between the cities are vast. You can comfortably travel between the cities in the Central core region on the overnight trains, but if you are going to Kaliningrad or Sochi, flying is your best option.
The following cities will play host to matches during the tournament:
- Nizhny Novgorod
- Saint Petersburg
Local time: UTC+2 (similar to CEST) in Kaliningrad, UTC+4 in Samara, UTC+5 in Yekaterinburg and UTC+3 (similar to EEST) in other cities, including Moscow.
Cities and stadiums
Of the 32 teams, 20 also played in the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany. Iceland and Panama will be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup.
Other teams returning after absences of at least three tournaments include: Egypt, returning to the finals after a 28-year absence from their last appearance in 1990; Morocco, who last competed in 1998; Peru, returning after a 36-year absence (since 1982); and Senegal, competing for the second time after reaching the quarter-finals in 2002. It is the first time three Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland and Sweden) and four Arab nations (Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia) have qualified for the World Cup.
Notable countries that failed to qualify include four-time champions Italy (for the first time since 1958) and three-time runner-up Netherlands. Four reigning continental champions failed to qualify: 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winner Cameroon, two-time Copa América champion and 2017 Confederations Cup runner-up Chile, 2016 OFC Nations Cup winner New Zealand, and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion United States (for the first time since 1986). The other notable qualifying streaks broken were for Ghana and Ivory Coast, who had both made the previous three tournaments.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) (5):
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
Confederation of African Football (CAF) (5):
Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) (3):
- Costa Rica
South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) (5):
Oceania Football Confederation (OFC): None qualified
Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) (14):
- Russia (hosts)
Of the 12 venues used, the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and the Saint Petersburg Stadium (the two largest stadiums in Russia) will be used most, with 7 matches being played at each of these stadiums. Sochi, Kazan, Nizhny Novogrod and Samara will host 6 matches including one quarter-final match apiece, and the Otkrytiye Stadium in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don will host 5 matches apiece including one round of 16 match each. Volgograd, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Saransk will host 4 matches each and none of these cities will host any knockout stage games.
|Luzhniki Stadium||Otkritie Arena
(Saint Petersburg Stadium)
|Capacity: 81,000||Capacity: 45,360||Capacity: 68,134||Capacity: 35,212|
|Kazan Arena||Nizhny Novgorod Stadium||Cosmos Arena
|Capacity: 45,379||Capacity: 44,899
|Mordovia Arena||Rostov Arena||Fisht Olympic Stadium
|Capacity: 47,659||Capacity: 35,696(upgraded)|
The official FIFA World Cup mascot for the 2018 tournament, a wolf named Zabivaka ("the one who scores" in Russian), represents an anthropomorphic wolf with brown and white wool T-shirt with the words "RUSSIA 2018" and orange sport glasses. The combination of white, blue and red T-shirt and shorts are the national colors of the Russian team. The student designer is Ekaterina Bocharova, and the mascot was selected by Internet voting.
The full schedule was announced by FIFA on 24 July 2015 (without kick-off times, which were confirmed later). On 1 December 2017, following the final draw, six kick-off times were adjusted by FIFA. Russia was placed in position A1 in the group stage and will play in the opening match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 14 June against Saudi Arabia, the two lowest ranked teams of the tournament at the time of the final draw. The Luzhniki Stadium will also host the second semi-final on 11 July and the final on 15 July. The Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg will host the first semi-final on 10 July and the third place play-off on 14 July.
The National Emergency Telephone Number (24/7) is 101. The emergency lines in Russia are 102 for police, 103 for medical emergencies and ambulance, and 101 for firefighters.
Late in March 2018, ISIS made a threat that they would bomb (primarily England) fans via drones. Information came to light after ISIS members posted video clips and photos on an encrypted app, Telegram.
The conservative Cossack volunteers providing security at one of the venues has warned gay fans, "If two men are kissing each other at the World Cup, we will tip off the police." Some LGBTIQ+ football fans in the UK have received direct emails telling them that if they come to Russia they'll be "rooted out and stabbed". The British Foreign Office has issued a warning for LGBTIQ+ fans to avoid public displays of affection in Russia.
Russia also has had a history of racially-motivated assaults and abuse against people of African and Asian descent. Some non-white players such as England's Danny Rose have advised their families to not visit Russia for the tournament.
You will not be able to purchase or consume alcohol during the matches.
The quality of tap water varies across the cities hosting the World Cup. The water is more potable in Saint Petersburg and Moscow than the smaller cities. If you are travelling all around the country, to err of the side of caution, it is best to stick with bottled water.
Forest fires are a common occurrence in Russia during the summer months. This may result in smoky and hazy conditions sweeping across some of the cities hosting the World Cup.
There are no particular vaccinations that are needed before going to Russia other than the routine vaccines you should get when travelling anywhere.
- Notable Russian cities which are not hosting the WC2018, but worth seeing:
- Veliky Novgorod, one of the oldest and historical cities in Russia, ~110 km from Saint Petersburg and ~530 km from Moscow. Not to be confused with Nizhny Novgorod!
- Vladimir, one of the most visited destinations within the popular Golden Ring circuit, ~180 km from Moscow and ~240 km from Nizhny Novgorod.
- Vyborg, former Finnish city, ~120 km north-west from Saint Petersburg
- Yaroslavl, the "capital" of Golden Ring, ~270 km north-east from Moscow.
- The next World Cup in 2022 will be hosted by the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation of Qatar.
- Once the World Cup over, you will have an opportunity to venture into Russia's European neighbours, including