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.
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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.
More AP Confederations Cup coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/ConfederationsCup