Folks, it’s finally upon us: The 2018 FIFA World Cup is now mere days away, and the globe’s attention is about to shift to Russia for the next month, as 32 nations vie to secure indisputably the most sought-after trophy in world sport.
And as much as there is great curiosity about the tournament itself, there’s also a great deal of fascination with the host nation, Russia.
The Russian Federation has laid their preparations bare for the World Cup, with hundreds of thousands of spectators set to descend on 11 different stadiums across the country, and none of them are more batshit insane than Ekaterinburg Arena.
You may have seen photos of the staggering setup there before, but with the Cup set to kick off tomorrow night, it’s absolutely worth another look.
One of the many wonderful quirks of FIFA’s World Cup rules is that every stadium that hosts games must have a minimum capacity of 35,000.
So, as part of the stadium’s reconstruction, giant temporary stands were erected outside the stadium – effectively punching holes the stadium’s outer walls so punters can see in – which bring the capacity up to FIFA-standard.
The stands are some 45-metres high, made of what appears to be scaffolding and nothing else, and are completely fucking terrifying.
— EL TRI ZONE #NadaNosDetiene ????????????⚽ (@MexicoStats_18) June 4, 2018
MUST SEE: Stadium in Russia, in order to be compliant for the 2018 World Cup, has, um, added more seats. pic.twitter.com/7aT69bU3rP
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 4, 2017
The Ekaterinburg Arena ????????
What a beauty.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 25, 2018
— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@YaroLFC) March 21, 2018
No. No no no. No thank you, no. No. No please. Absolutely not. No.
The one saving grace for Australians heading over to Russia, perhaps, is that no Socceroos games are scheduled for the arena.
The eastern-most stadium in the World Cup is playing host to four group-stage matches, including Egypt vs Uruguay, France vs Peru, Japan vs Senegal, and Mexico vs Sweden. It is not hosting any game in the knockout stages of the tournament.
Imagine scoring a hard-earned ticket to a Cup game and finding out it’s in the back row of that bad boy. Hell’s bells.Image: Twitter / Darren Rovell