Moscow to host 2018 World Cup opener, final

SAINT PETERSBURG: The schedules for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2017 Confederations Cup have been unveiled by FIFA in Saint Petersburg ahead of the qualification draws for the competition on Saturday.


Kazan, Saint Petersburg, Sochi and Moscow’s Spartak stadium will be the hosts for the Confederations Cup and the four World Cup quarter-finals.

It had already been decided that the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow will host the opening game, a semi-final and the final with Saint Petersburg also hosting the other semi-final.

The group stages will see four games take place at 12 stadiums across the 11 host cities.

Saint Petersburg’s Zenit Arena will host the Confederations Cup final on July 2, 2017.

England, Wales among top seeds for draw

England and Wales will take their place among the top nine European seeds for Saturday’s World Cup qualifying draw in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

The top seeds are based on the FIFA world rankings from June meaning previous World Cup winners Italy and France are only second seeds.

World champions Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Croatia are the other top seeds.

Along with hosts Russia, 13 other European nations will qualify for the World Cup with the nine group winners from Saturday’s draw being joined by the winners of four playoffs between the eight best second-placed teams.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will be in the third of the six pots, whilst the Republic of Ireland are in pot four.

The qualifying groups will take place between September 2016 and October 2017 with the playoffs in November 2017.