The U.S.S.R.’s capital of MOSCOW was, itself, home to no fewer than five different football clubs who were all competing in the Soviet first division (comprised of eighteen teams) when the Summer Olympic Games arrived in the middle of the 1980 domestic season. Four of these five clubs (CSKA, Dynamo, Lokomotiv, Spartak and Torpedo) all had, by the 1960s, ground to call their very own within the city’s limits, as well. None of these four stadia, though, could even begin to compare in terms of spectator capacity with the massive Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium, which never had an official club team tenant but often hosted important intra-city derbies as well as many European matches involving the Moscow city club sides.
On the other hand, not even the great national stadium on the banks of the Moskva River could stack up with the historical DYNAMO STADIUM in Moscow’s Petrovsky Park for its length of service, though.
The venerable Dynamo Stadium had been built in 1928 to serve as the home of the team with direct ties to what is respected as the very first football club in Russian history. The descendent of Morozovtsi Orekhovo-Zuevo Moskva, which was originally founded as a factory club in 1887, was quickly taken over by the fledgling Soviet Ministry of the Interior after the Russian Revolution broke out three decades later. DYNAMO MOSCOW, who quickly became despised by other intra-city rivals as a result of their direct association with the notorious Chekha secret police, later went on to win the inaugural all-U.S.S.R. domestic championship in 1936 and reclaimed that honor the next year, as well.
A photo of the famous bronze statue of legendary Soviet footballer LEV YASIN, the highly-acclaimed Dynamo Moscow goalkeeper who won the 1956 Olympic gold medal and the 1960 UEFA European Championships title with the U.S.S.R. national team, outside the Dynamo Stadium in Petrovsky Park.
It was Dynamo Stadium that actually was the site of the very first post-Stalin international football match ever hosted by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics when Sweden came to visit the capital city in early September of 1954. NIKITA SIMONYAN of hometown Spartak Moscow, who later would be let go as trainer of the national team roughly a year ahead of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games, scored the very first goal for the U.S.S.R. at the Dynamo Stadium, then, as the Soviets romped to an easy 7-0 triumph over their Scandanavian guests. As would be the case for the national side’s first three matches in Petrovsky Park, the Dynamo Stadium was packed to the maximum of 54,000 spectators for the landmark meeting with the Swedes.
Six of the U.S.S.R. national team’s seven home matches at the Dynamo Stadium, the last of these being the Soviets’ 5-0 shutout of Israel in July of 1956, had drawn the capacity crowd before the Lenin Stadium was opened in another part of Moscow at the end of September later that year.
Like all the different facilities in the Soviet Union that were used in conjunction with the 1980 Summer Games, the Dynamo Stadium underwent a thorough renovation in advance. By now officially known as the Grand Arena of the Dynamo Central Stadium as other sports installations had been added to the site, the 52-year-old venue — which saw its official capacity shrink slightly to 50,000 spectators in order to accomodate additional VIP boxes — hosted six different matches during the Olympic football tournament. The program in Petrovsky Park included four round-robin contests as well as one quarterfinal (which featured the U.S.S.R.) and one semifinal match, each.
The venerable Dynamo Stadium was closed permanently for the purposes of demolition in 2008 to make way for the currently-planned VTB Arena, which is scheduled to be finished in conjunction with the occasion of Russia hosting the final tournament of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.