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| World Cup 2018Volgograd


It’s impossible to talk about Volgograd without reference to the events of August 1942 to February 1943, when the city — known then as Stalingrad — played host to one of the defining battles of World War II. The siege, which left some 2 million either dead, wounded, or captured, and laid waste to as much as 90 percent of the city’s habitable structures, has left an indelible mark on Volgograd’s geography and identity. Even 75 years on, the city, which straddles the Volga river north-south for about 50 miles, is rebuilt but still scarred.

map of Volgograd

The One Must-See Thing

At 278-feet tall from its base to the tip of the giant steel sword she wields, The Motherland Calls, the city’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad, is the tallest statue in Europe, and, along with the surrounding memorial complex, is well worth seeing up close. Vasily Chuikov, who led the Soviet 62nd Army at the battle, and Vasily Zaitsev, the famed sniper who was the subject of the 2001 film Enemy at the Gates, are both buried nearby.

The Stadium

The Volgograd Arena plays host to four group stage matches, with England’s match against Tunisia arguably the pick of the bunch, before being turned over to local club side Rotor — famously conquerors of Manchester United in the 1990s, but now languishing in the Russian lower leagues. The nearby Motherland Calls monument peers over the stadium roof as if to catch a glimpse of the action on the field.

Where to Watch

The city’s fan zone occupies a scenic position on the banks of the Volga, and with space for 15,000 spectators should be the prime spot in the city to watch a match.


  • June 18 Tunisia vs. England Group G
  • June 22 Nigeria vs. Iceland Group D
  • June 25 Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt Group A
  • June 28 Japan vs. Poland Group H
Nizhny Novgorod
Saint Petersburg