For the first time since 1938, Germany (reigning champions) did not advance past the first round. 15:00 MSK ( UTC3 ) 18:00 MSK ( UTC3 ) 20:00 yekt ( UTC5 ) 21:00 MSK ( UTC3 ) 17:00 MSK ( UTC3 ) 18:00 samt ( UTC4 ) Knockout stage Russia v Croatia Main article: 2018 fifa. The construction officially started on The project was completed on Saransk: Mordovia Arena. Stadiums Exterior of Otkrytie Arena in Moscow A total of twelve stadiums in eleven Russian cities were built and renovated for the fifa World Cup. We want your opinion! 46 VAR had a significant impact in several games. 36 If a match went into extra time, each team was allowed to make a fourth substitution, the first time this had been allowed in a fifa World Cup tournament. Of the 32 teams, 20 had also appeared in the previous tournament in 2014, while both, iceland and, panama made their first appearances at a fifa World Cup. 103 104 Former Brazilian World Cup-winning striker Ronaldo walked out with a child wearing a Russia 2018 shirt. A new referee was not appointed, but two assistant referees, Hasan Al Mahri of the United Arab Emirates and Hiroshi Yamauchi of Japan, were added to the list. 87 On 27 March, the Ministry of Construction Industry, Housing and Utilities Sector of Russia reported that all communications within its area of responsibility have been commissioned. The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Construction began in 2015. The largest stadium in the country was closed for renovation in 2013. 53 Most cities are in European Russia, while Sochi 54 and Yekaterinburg 55 are very close to the Europe-Asia border, to reduce travel time for the teams in the huge country.