Rollercoaster of emotions awaits fans in St. Petersburg

In this photo taken on Thursday, June 22, 2017, a view of the fairground attraction known as Divo Ostrov, (Wonder Island). Football fans can be taken on a roller-coaster ride at their World Cup games in St. Petersburg, and that's even before kickoff. An array of actual white-knuckle rides stand in the amusement park close to the stadium on their pre-match walk from the metro station.(AP Photo/Graham Dunbar)

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) Football fans can go on a roller-coaster ride at their World Cup games in St. Petersburg, and that’s even before kickoff.

An array of actual white-knuckle rides stand in the amusement park close to the stadium on a pre-match walk from the metro station.

Emerging from Krestovsky Ostrov station on the No. 5 metro line, fans see the spaceship-like stadium more than 1 kilometer (1,100 yards) away through the tree-lined path in the landscaped Primorskiy Victory Park.

Step into the park and fans must first walk past the fairground attraction known as Divo Ostrov – or ”Wonder Island.”

”It’s crazy, isn’t it?” said Warren Livingstone of Sydney, admiring a stunning approach to the stadium ahead of Australia’s game against Cameroon. ”It’s a bit like Wembley Way (in London). The Olympic stadium in Sydney has a bit of a build-up but nothing like this.”

The theme park option was unknown to most Australia fans arriving at the Confederations Cup.

By next year, it could be on the to-do list for fans who arrive an hour earlier for their World Cup game and are tempted to see the stadium from high on a rollercoaster, sling shot or parachute ride.

St. Petersburg will stage seven matches next year and three have 9 p.m. local time kickoffs, including a semifinal.

”It could be popular if they put into the itinerary,” said Fulvio Prainito of Perth, Australia.

Divo Ostrov also hosts a sausage-eating championship, just like Coney Island in New York City that is close in spirit to the St. Petersburg amusement park.

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