The biggest stadium in Moscow is Luzhniki Stadium. Luzhniki was built in the late 1950s, had a major renovation for the Moscow Olympics of 1980 (with a 103,000 capacity then) and was completely rebuilt again in the late 1990s.
The stadium has a five star rating from FIFA and will host the Champions League Final in 2008. Luzhniki’s current capacity is 80,600 and is the venue for today’s Russia versus England Euro 2008 qualifying match.
Luzhniki is surrounded by a running track and has a last generation artificial pitch installed – the only stadium in Europe allowed to use it for major matches so far, due to Moscow’s freezing winter climate.
The stadium is located in the south of Moscow near the Moskva River and is set in a large sports’ complex – a park and a few smaller sports and recreational facilities.
The two nearest Metro stations are Sportivnaya and Vorobievy Gory.
World Soccer News
World News for Week of Oct 16th
Piksi Stojkovic ditches Red Star, returns to Japan
Dragan Stojkovic has stepped down from the presidential position in Red Star Belgrade and is about to take over as sporting director at his old club Nagoya Grampus. According to Japan Today, Piksi will rejoin Grampus, for whom he played during eight glorious seasons in the J-League, in December.
Club representative Yoshiro Fukushima was a bit more cautious:
“He is one of the candidates we have spoken to. He has strong ties to our club and plans his future here.”
The former highly honoured Serb international leaves Red Star after a less than impressive start to the new Bandar Togel Hongkong season for the champions, amid the turnmoil currently affecting Serb soccer.
Piksi (a nickname coming from Pixie, a cartoon character) said no-one had pressured him to step down and that he did not feel betrayed or disappointed.
Buffon leaves stadium in a trunk
Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon explained why he had left the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence in the trunk of his car on October 7th.
“There were some controversial plays during the match and the atmosphere was tense. I had a friend of mine drive me in such a position in order to avoid conflict with discontented Fiorentina fans. It wasn’t very comfortable, but it was better than facing an angry crowd,” said 194 cm tall Buffon.
The keeper also departed from the same stadium in an unorthodox fashion eight years ago.
“After Parma’s FA Cup victory at Fiorentina I left the premises with a clown mask on. This way I went past the home supporters with no problem whatsoever.”
Kanouté attacked with a belt!
One of the best centre-forwards in the world, Sevilla’s Frederic Kanouté, was injured in mass fighting after the Togo vs Mali game in the qualifications for the African 2008 Nations’ Cup in Ghana.
The match in Lomé was won by Mali 2-0, but the local hooligans responded with a collective charge on the visiting players and fans.
Kanouté was struck with a belt on his arm, suffering a cut which had to be sewn up with three stitches. Stoke’s Mamadi Sidibé also found himself on the receiving end, being stabbed with a knife in his arm.
Mali’s coach Jean-Francois Jodar described the situation as a “battlefield”.
“In the dressing rooms where our players took refuge there was blood everywhere.”
Vágner Love loses a €40,000 earring
Russian clubs pay very, very well. Brazil forward Vágner Love lost an earring worth 40,000 euros during a practice at Granja Comary, preparing for WC qualifying games against Colombia and Ecuador.
Vágner was desperate not only over the price but because such an earring can only be purchased in Russia so he will have to wait until he returns to Moscow before he completes the pair.
“I really lost it during training. I hope the Russians agree to sell me just one piece,” said the CSKA player aware that he may have to buy a whole new pair at €80,000.
Barca’s chairman urges players to spare effors on national duty
“I expect Barcelona internationals to calm their efforts while they are on national duty,” said Barca chairman Joan Laporta to his players Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández and Carles Puyol during the League break for Spain’s Euro qualifying games against Denmark and Sweden.
The statement caused shock in Spain and there were comments that Laporta, a noted Catalonian nationalist, would not require the same of his players were a prospective Catalonian national team in question.
“The internationals are capable of both playing for their country and relaxing,” said Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Ramos with respect to Laporta’s “advice”.
Valencia’s Miguel Ángel Angulo was even more explicit.
“My club has given no such instructions to Valencia’s internationals. Sparing efforts while playing for Spain is not an option. Besides, the season is young and our legs are still fresh,” said Angulo, whose club provides the most players for Luis Aragones’s team.
Croatia top overall qualifiers table ahead of Scotland
By beating Israel 1-0 the Croatian national team went on top of the table including all teams taking part in the current Euro 2008 qualifiers. Slaven Bilic’s team is the only one with 26 points, two more than Scotland and Poland, the latter with two games more played.
Croatia also lead the table based on point percentage, with 86.7%, while Germany and Romania share the second and the third spot with 85.2%. These teams are the only ones to have dropped just four points, but Croatia’s result is superior due to having played a game more.