sport news PICTURE SPECIAL: Sportsmail's guide to the 12 stunning stadiums in use at the ...

The World Cup is now a matter of days away and with the cases packed and passports renewed, many fans across the globe are preparing to descend on Russia.

Twelve stadiums will be used in the tournament - one of which finds itself outside of mainland Russia - and each has its quirks, plus points and drawbacks.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the venues set to welcome some of the game's biggest stars for this summer's tournament...

A map showing the location of the 12 World Cup venues in Russia and their capacities as teams get set for the tournament

A map showing the location of the 12 World Cup venues in Russia and their capacities as teams get set for the tournament

Kazan Arena

Designed by architects who helped mastermind Wembley Stadium and the Emirates, the Kazan Arena is a sturdy addition

Designed by architects who helped mastermind Wembley Stadium and the Emirates, the Kazan Arena is a sturdy addition

From the air, the Kazan Arena is said to resemble a picture-perfect water lily that is found on the adjacent Kazanka river

From the air, the Kazan Arena is said to resemble a picture-perfect water lily that is found on the adjacent Kazanka river

Kazan Arena fixtures 

France v Australia Group C, 16 June

Iran v Spain, Group B, 20 June

Poland v Colombia Group H, 24 June

South Korea v GermanyGroup F, 27 June

Round of 16, 30 June

Quarter-final, 6 July

Capacity: 45,379 Opened: 2013 Team: Rubin Kazan

Apparently, when viewed from above, the Arena is meant to resemble a water lily, a reference to the adjacent Kazanka River.

The stadium has the largest outside video screen in Europe, stretching right along one side of the venue, meaning fans can watch stuff as they walk up to the Arena. Russian Premier League club Rubin Kazan have been tenants since August 2013.

But this is some journey from England fans preparing to base themselves in Saint Petersburg. Sat 800km further east than Moscow, it'll be a two hour 10 minute flight for the Thee Lions team from their base. 

Ekaterinburg Arena

The distinctive design is particularly eye catching on a clear day and leaves plenty of chance for stars to kick it out the ground

The distinctive design is particularly eye catching on a clear day and leaves plenty of chance for stars to kick it out the ground

Supporters have been advised to bring along a pair of binoculars if they should find themselves in this fascinating stand

Supporters have been advised to bring along a pair of binoculars if they should find themselves in this fascinating stand

Ekaterinburg Arena  

Egypt v Uruguay, 15 June, Group A

France v Peru, 21 June, Group C 

Japan v Senegal 24 June, Group H

Mexico v Sweden, Group F, 27 June

Capacity: 35,000 Open: 1957 (renovated 2014-2017) Team: FC Ural 

Take a deep breath. Dominated by the temporary stand, fans will get a postcard-perfect view from their seat (but players may be a tad harder to make out). 

At 1,800km from Moscow and 2,300km from Saint Petersburg, this is as far east as the World Cup gets and one England fans were more than happy to avoid - unique stand, aside. 

The flight time from Moscow is a shade over two hours or a five-hour round trip from Saint Petersburg.

FIFA stipulate stadiums must have a 35,000+ capacity - hence the unique take on increasing the attendance. Definitely the most eye-catching stadium the country will boast this tournament. 

Fisht Stadium

Named after Mount Fisht, a peak in the Caucasus mountains, this eye-catching ocean blue stadium will host six matches

Named after Mount Fisht, a peak in the Caucasus mountains, this eye-catching ocean blue stadium will host six matches

Much like the Ekaterinburg Arena, those fans high up in the stands may have a job on their hands spotting their favourite stars

Much like the Ekaterinburg Arena, those fans high up in the stands may have a job on their hands spotting their favourite stars

Fisht Stadium fixtures 

Portugal v Spain, 15 June, Group B

Belgium v Panama, 18 June, GroupG

Germany v Sweden, 23 June, Group F

Australia v Peru 26 June, Group C

Round of 16, 30 June 

Quarter-final, 7 July

Capacity: 47,659 Opened: 2013 Team: Some Russia matches  

I see what you are thinking, you need a head for heights this summer. The Fisht Stadium is no exception to that rule.

Originally built in 2014 for the Winter Olympics, the stadium has been revamped for the football festival and has been rewarded with a good number of games. 

Drawing similarities to the Etihad Stadium, home to Premier League champions Manchester City, fans will get a good view wherever they end up sat and the facilities in the surrounding area won't leave supporters dreading a trip to Sochi. 

Kaliningrad Stadium

The only stadium to be based outside of mainland Russia, the base at Kaliningrad may not prove the most exciting away day

The only stadium to be based outside of mainland Russia, the base at Kaliningrad may not prove the most exciting away day

Kaliningrad Stadium 

Croatia v Nigeria Group D, 16 June 

Serbia v Switzerland Group E, 22 June 

Spain v Morocco Group B, 25 June 

England v Belgium Group G, 28 June  

Capacity: 35,212 Opened: 2018 Team: Baltika Kaliningrad  

Unique. Not by design but in the fact that this is the only stadium based outside of mainland Russia. In a city annexed between Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad is where England will round off Group G against Belgium.  

Much like a number of other grounds built for the tournament, it will face a capacity reduction ahead of the new season when local club Baltika, who play in Russia's second tier, move in.

Nothing super special aesthetically and the area is far from any top travel guide but for any passionate followers of Soviet history - Kaliningrad could be the pick of the bunch. 

Spartak Stadium

Hundreds of red and white diamonds impressively make up the Spartak Moscow club crest on the exterior of the stadium 

Hundreds of red and white diamonds impressively make up the Spartak Moscow club crest on the exterior of the stadium 

Solid if unspectacular inside, the modern structure will host five matches in the early stages of this summer's tournament

Solid if unspectacular inside, the modern structure will host five matches in the early stages of this summer's tournament

Spartak Stadium 

Argentina v Iceland, Group D, 16 June

Poland v Senegal, Group H, 19 June

Belgium v Tunisia, Group G, 23 June

Serbia v Brazil, Group E, 27 June

Round of 16, 3 July

Capacity: 45,360 Opened: 2014 Team: Spartak Moscow and some Russia games

Group D, 16 June; Group H, 19 June; Group G, 23 June; Group E, 27 June; Round of 16, 3 July.

Spartak Moscow were probably beginning to wonder when they would get the keys to their new home. A drawn out construction process concluded four years ago and the result is a purpose-built modern stadium.

The exterior is a smart selling point, with hundreds of small red and white diamonds making up the Spartak club crest. But, these colours can be changed depending on who is playing there, much like Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena.

Five games jotted down on the calendar for this Moscow venue but nothing after the round of 16. Eyes peeled early doors for this one. 

Luzhniki Stadium

The crown in Russia's stadium jewels, the Luzhniki Stadium will play host to the final as well as six other matches this summer

The crown in Russia's stadium jewels, the Luzhniki Stadium will play host to the final as well as six other matches this summer

Built for the big occasions, the oval arena has a mammoth 81,000 capacity and is regularly home to the Russia national team

Built for the big occasions, the oval arena has a mammoth 81,000 capacity and is regularly home to the Russia national team

Luzhniki Stadium 

Russia v Saudi Arabia, Group A, 14 June 

Germany v Mexico, Group F, 17 June 

Portugal v Morocco, Group B, 20 June 

Denmark v France, Group C, 26 June 

Round of 16, 1 July 

Semi-final, 11 July 

Final, 15 July 

Capacity: 81,000 Opened: 2017 (rebuilt original stadium, open 1955-2013) Team: Russia national team

Group A, 14 June; Group F, 17 June; Group B, 20 June; Group C, 26 June; Round of 16, 1 July; Semi-final, 11 July; Final, 15 July. 

Brazil had the Maracana and Russia will have the grandeur of the Luzhniki Stadium. 

Torn up in 2013, the original structure was rebuilt with an 81,000-seater stadium which looks to maintain some of the historical elements central to the old ground.

If it looks familiar that's because it is: lifted the Champions League here in 2008 having beaten Premier League rivals Chelsea on penalties. 

Based in Moscow where tourists are spoilt for choice aside from the

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