The Urals capital, Ekaterinburg, will remember the upcoming World Cup as the most memorable event in its history.

It was a natural choice to put it on the tournament’s map – the city lies on the border between Europe and Asia.

Monument marking the border between Europe and Asia. Credit: Jirka.h23

Ekaterinburg loves football despite the tough climate, time difference, long-time deficit of football infrastructure, and lackluster performance of local clubs. Residents come to see their favourite side under freezing temperatures, regardless of the league FC Ural plays in, and are enthusiastic enough to watch UEFA Champions League matches at midnight local time.

city and regional authorities have been serious about the scope of work that was outstanding.

8 billion roubles were allocated to develop the road network ahead of the world’s major football tournament. The funds were used to build new highways, renovate existing arteries, pave new pedestrian routes to improve transport accessibility. The city reconstructed four junctions and built a new bridge.

Стадион «Екатеринбург Арена». Credit: RU2018.ORG

The pedestrian areas have been expanded for fans that would come from around the world. People will find it easy to get from the stadium to the FIFA Fan Fest area on Mayakovskaya Square. More than a hundred shuttles will serve the tournament’s guests.

Thanks to improved transport patterns, the city residents no longer need to wait in traffic jams.

Like in other Russian host cities, the stadium will be the crown jewel among all other sights. Ekaterinburg Arena was a new construction.

the new Arena retained the historical facade of its predecessor, tsentralny stadium, combining classic soviet architecture and modern design.

While the standard capacity is 25,000, it will be extended to 35,000 during the World Cup thanks to temporary stands.

Ekaterinburg Arena. Credit: RU2018.ORG

The city is scheduled to host four group stage matches. The first game will feature Egypt vs Uruguay, followed by France vs Peru.

Three days later the residents and guests will enjoy the showdown between African and Asian football represented by Senegal and Japan. Sweden and Mexico will play in the final matchup on the stadium.

Ekaterinburg Arena. Credit: RU2018.ORG

There is no doubt the 1,400 km distance from Moscow or the two-hour time difference are unlikely to spoil the international football party in Ekaterinburg.

Ekaterina Podkolzina, Rustam Sabirov