In 2018, Russia is going to host the FIFA World Cup for the first time in its history. The event will take place from June 14 to July 15 in eleven cities of the European part fo the country. These are: Moscow, Kaliningrad, Saint Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, and Yekaterinburg. Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow is going to host the opening match and the gold-medal match, and play off for third place will be held in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In Sochi, the mundial matches will be hosted by Fisht Olympic Stadium, well known to the sport lovers since the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
The official ticket sales start on December 1, 2017, prices for foreigners and citizens of the host country will be different. The cheapest ticket for non-Russian residents will be $105 — this is the price to see any of the group stage matches, except for the opening match. Prices for the final range from 455 to 1100 dollars. The central seats in the stands are more expensive than the corner ones and the sectors behind the goals. Tickets will be sold only on the official FIFA website — www.fifa.com. In addition to standard means, you will also have to issue a fan's passport (Fan ID) to enter the stadium. This is Russian know-how, designed both for the safety and convenience of football fans. For example, foreigners with Fan ID don't need to worry about a Russian visa, and public transport rides in cities holding the tournament are free with this document. You can apply for Fan ID online or in person, at the FAN ID Registration Center. You'll need to provide the purchased football ticket number, passport information and a color photo.
Total of 32 teams, including Russia will play in the final part of the 2018 World Cup. Best national teams from Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia and Oceania will compete for the cup. Interesting fact — Brazilian team secured its entrance to the 2018 tournament ahead of schedule. However, nothing less was expected from the world's most titled team. Brazilians won the FIFA Cup five times and never missed the participation in the final part of the tournament. Russian team's success is not as big: the best result of all time is the fourth place at the 1966 World Cup.
Wolf named Zabivaka was chosen to be the 2018 World Cup mascot after bypassing the cat and the astronaut Amur tiger in the popular vote. Legends of world football Ronaldo and Zvonimir Boban, who holds the position of FIFA deputy general secretary, took part in the mascot choosing ceremony. Organizers note that the chosen mascot, the wolf, is the youngest player on the team, but at the same time the fastest, most decisive and skillful. Zabivaka the wolf is charming, outgoing and his favorite activity is playing football. Zabivaka follows the rules of fair play, appreciates his teammates and respects the opponents.
Traditionally, there's a rehearsal tournament a year before the World Cup — the Confederations Cup. Eight teams take part in it: winners of six continental championships, world champion and host country of the tournament. They play for the Cup at the same stadiums that will later host the FIFA World Cup matches. In Russia, the Confederations Cup was held from June 17 to July 2, 2017. Teams of Australia, Cameroon, Mexico, New Zealand and Portugal were among the participants, and the cup was taken home by German football players, beating Chile in the final with a score of 1:0.