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A spaceship landed in St. Petersburg

Posted July. 06, 2017 07:12,   

Updated July. 06, 2017 07:26


British daily newspaper Daily Mail introduced 10 points to look out for the upcoming 2017 FIFA Confederation Cup. One of them was a spaceship-shaped St. Petersburg Stadium. Of all the four venues to hold matches including Moscow, Sochi, and Kazan, only one stadium stood out to the British media outlet. According to the Daily Mail, the stadium stands as the most expensive of its kind in the world, with 1 billion pounds (or around 1.48 trillion won) spent on construction.

The stadium, which hosted opening matches between Russia vs. New Zealand and Germany vs. Chile was originally planned to open in December 2008. However, the completion ceremony was delayed several times due to bleeding municipal finance and bankrupt construction companies. The stadium finally held its ribbon cutting event this February. During the course of time, construction costs heightened as well.

World renowned Japanese architect Kurokawa Kisho (1934-2007) designed the exterior that resembles a gigantic spaceship. Kisho also laid the basic design framework for Jamsil Lotte World in Seoul in the 1980s. His work includes Toyota Stadium, known as the best football stadium in Japan.

Also called as "Zenit Arena" as the home ground for the Russian professional football team, St. Petersburg Stadium consists of seven floors, which rise as high as 56.6 meters. Official statistics show it can accommodate up to 62,000 spectators, but over 70,000 can enter when temporary sears are placed on the seventh floor. These cheap and temporary seats were filled with people even on Monday when the final match took place.

St. Petersburg is located higher than Moscow by an altitude of approximately 60 degrees. The switching roof is constructed with transparent material in order to preserve heat while letting in the sun during winter. The view from the stadium is truly breath-taking, as it is located near the Baltic Sea. While it appears glamorous and magnificent outside, however, the seats are too crammed inside. Dozens of people have to stand up when a spectator inside the row has to use the toilet. Despite its inconvenience, the stadium boasts a shorter distance between the seats and the ground. Even the spectators on the fifth floor can clearly read the jersey numbers of the players. What's more, balls bounced by headers are easily flown to the stands.

There were plans to use this stadium as the main venue for the 2018 Russia World Cup, but the opening and closing matches will be held at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The St. Petersburg Stadium will host the first four rounds, knock-out and semi-final matches, and the third-place match. Among a total of 12 stadiums dispersed in 11 cities (two in Moscow), the stadium will host the most matches along with Luzhniki Stadium with seven rounds.

The Korea Football Association has recently appointed Shin Tae-yong as a coach. Once Shin's team succeed in placing Korea as the main contending country for nine times in a row, Korean players may roam around the "St. Petersburg Stadium" according to how the groups will be set.

Seung-Kun Lee why@donga.com