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ESPN FC's Euro 2016 awards

Euro 2016
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 By Chris Wright

Russian farmer builds stadium out of straw to mock $720m World Cup venue

A farmer in Krasnoye, Russia built a football stadium entirely out of straw
Russian farmer Roman Ponomaryov built a stadium made completely from straw.

A Russian farmer has built an entire football stadium out of straw to mock the spiralling cost of the new 64,000-seat arena in St Petersburg that will be used to host the 2018 World Cup.

The straw version, built by farmer Roman Ponomaryov in a field outside the town of Stavropol cost around $675 (£500) to complete, whereas the Zenit Arena quickly burned through a budget of $720 million (£552m).

However, what Ponomaryov's version lacks in clean, sweeping lines and modernist architecture,...

CSKA Moscow's challenge: their biggest crowd didn't go to see them

The July 5 concert showed CSKA Arena in the sold-out, big atmosphere that's yet to attend the football.

MOSCOW -- It took the new and impressive CSKA Arena, opened in the northwest of the Russian capital in September 2016, barely 10 months to see its first sellout crowd. Ironically, it happened when its owners, CSKA Moscow, are more than a thousand miles away from it on a preseason tour in Austria.

It was for the Park Live Festival, which took place on July 5. 

The Red Army club, who were the most powerful and correspondingly considered as the most popular Soviet club in the postwar...

 By Nick Ames

Russia's oldest club has lived through tragedies but hopes for bright future

Oleg Larionov is nominally the stadium manager, but in many ways, his job is keeping Znamya Truda going.

Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Russia -- When Oleg Larionov thinks about a hot early summer's day in 2004, the memories come quickly, but the words themselves take longer to form. The visual part is easy: It was the last time Znamya Truda Stadium, the oldest in continuously occupied Russian territory, was packed to the rafters.

Describing the scene is harder. The citizens of Orekhovo-Zuyevo had come to mourn a tragedy, and nobody could quite predict how the rawest of emotions would manifest themselves.

"The...

Lessons from the Confederations Cup: Is Russia ready to host a World Cup?

Mark Ogden discusses the uncertainties surrounding stadiums such as Fisht Stadium in Sochi ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Russia has hosted 16 games across four venues during the Confederations Cup over the past fortnight as the country prepares to host the World Cup in a year's time.

Russia 2018 will be played on a much greater scale, with 32 nations aiming to win the trophy during a monthlong tournament. But after successfully staging the Confederations Cup, which saw Germany emerge as winners with a 1-0 victory over Chile in St. Petersburg on Sunday, is Russia now ready to stage the World...

Russia's Confed Cup showing doesn't suggest future World Cup success

Russia gave it their best at the Confederations Cup but the hosts just lacked the quality to compete with the world's elite.

KAZAN, Russia -- One of the few positives to emerge from Russia's Confederations Cup exit for Stanislav Cherchesov is that he has managed to get the country behind his team once again.

Whether the same can be said for the domestic media is another matter, judging by the first question thrown the coach's way in the postmatch news conference after Mexico's 2-1 win in Kazan had confirmed Russia's group stage elimination.

"Our sources told us that, if Russia went out of this tournament before...

 By Tom Marshall

Mexico weathers early Russian storm, fights back to reach Confed Cup semis

Shaka Hislop says Mexico's advancement to the Confederations Cup semifinals will momentarily silence unfair criticism.

KAZAN, Russia -- Three quick thoughts from Mexico's 2-1 win over Russia in the Confederations Cup group stage:

1. Mexico weathers Russian storm

Mexico has been behind in all three of its Confederations Cup games so far but is through to the semifinal, finishing as runner-up in Group A following its 2-1 victory over Russia on Saturday in Kazan.

This was a case of Mexico getting the job done in front of 41,585 home fans in Kazan Arena and Russia provided a stern test, especially in the first half.

The...