Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, the venue for the opening match and final of next year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia, reopened on Saturday with a friendly between the host nation and Argentina.

The venue had been undergoing reconstruction work in preparation for next year’s football showpiece and last held a match on May 10, 2013.

The Luzhniki Stadium’s capacity has been increased from 78,000 to 81,000, with the venue’s stands now featuring a much steeper incline after being moved closer to the pitch. The stadium’s roof has also been replaced with a huge media screen.

A capacity crowd witnessed the reopening of the stadium as Argentina defeated Russia 1-0 with a late goal from Sergio Aguero.

Pre-match, supporters were given the chance to have their photos taken with a giant replica of a World Cup ticket to mark the reopening of the stadium. Fans were also able to upload photos to social media using the #Welcome2018 hashtag to have their image appear on the stadium’s big screen.

The game also featured the official match ball of Russia 2018, the Telstar 18.

The Luzhniki Stadium is due to host seven matches at the World Cup, including the opening game on June 14 and the final on July 15.

The recent renovation work marked the third time the venue has undergone reconstruction, with redevelopment having taken place from 1976-79 and 1996-97. The stadium served as the main venue of the 1980 summer Olympic Games in Moscow.

Image: Kucharek