Saint Petersburg


Four Rendezvous On Krestovsky

The first match of the 2018 World Cup — Russia v Saudi Arabia — takes place in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on 14 June. A day later football fever will grip other cities in Russia, including St. Petersburg.

The ‘St. Petersburg’ Stadium is due to host seven matches — four in the group stage and three in the knockout stage. The latter include one of the semi-finals and the third place match.

15 June, 6 pm. Morocco v Iran. Group B.

Morocco and Iran, it would seem, are merely making up the numbers in this group: the undoubted favourites to progress are Spain and Portugal, winners of the last three European Championships. Nevertheless, this promises to be an interesting game. Both teams come to the World Cup in good form: the Moroccans have won their last five matches, including a 2-1 victory in March against a very strong Serbian team, while the Iranians have won four of their last five. It will be most interesting to watch Sardar Azmoun, the leader of the Iranian team and of Rubin Kazan, who scores in nearly every international. Forecast: Iran to win 3-1.

19 June, 9 pm. Russia v Egypt. Group A.

This is, perhaps, the key match of the tournament for Russia. If they have already beaten Saudi Arabia, victory over the Egyptians will guarantee Stanislav Cherchesov’s team a place in the last sixteen. In the event of them not being successful in their first match there will still be a chance to qualify. But winning this game will not be easy: Egypt’s line-up includes Mohamed Salah, the top scorer for Liverpool and in the whole English Premier League. The big question is whether our slow defensive line can cope with this rapid striker. As always, our hopes rest on goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. Forecast: 2-2.

22 June, 3 pm. Brazil v Costa Rica. Group E.

It is not impossible that this match will decide top place in Group E. The Brazilians are, of course, one of the favourites to win the World Cup, but Costa Rica are one of the most spirited Caribbean teams who are not cowed by any authority. It is sufficient to recall their qualification four years ago from the ‘group of death’ with Italy, England and Uruguay and their two epic battles in the knockout stage against Greece and the Netherlands. Who will come out on top — the Brazilian stars Neymar, Willian and Philippe Coutinho, or their opponent, the wonder goalkeeper Keylor Navas? Forecast: 2-1 to Brazil.

26 June, 9 pm. Nigeria v Argentina. Group D.

Another potentially fantastic match — the beaten finalists in 2014 against one of the best national sides in African history. However, the current generation of Nigerians looks less outstanding than its predecessors. They really have only one star — John Obi Mikel, who played for Chelsea for many years and is now plying his trade for Tianjin Teda in China… In the Argentinean team, on the other hand, almost every name is a legend: goalkeeper Sergio Romero, defenders Javier Mascherano and Marcos Rojo, midfielder Angel de Maria, strikers Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain — and, of course, the little master himself: Lionel Messi. What chance have the Nigerians got against an ‘orchestra’ like that? Forecast: 3-1 to Argentina.

The beautiful stadium on Krestovsky Island, designed by the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, was finished just a year ago (the construction took ten years). The normal capacity of the arena, where Zenit St. Petersburg play their home games, is 56,196, but extra temporary seating installed for the World Cup has increased it by a further 12,000. The stadium is close to “Krestovsky Ostrov” and “Novokrestovskaya” Metro stations. “St. Petersburg” Arena also known unofficially as the “Zenit Arena” and the “Peter Arena”, the only sports structure in Russia with a sliding roof and a removable pitch, enabling it to be transformed into a venue for a great variety of events. 1 Futbolnaya Alleya.

Where St.Petersburg

August 2019

© 2012-2013, LLC Travel-Press
The Website and and all of its sub-domains including all databases are the intellectual property of “Travel-Press” LLC and protected by law.
The Website may contain content that is not intended for persons under 16 years old.