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Football Fever returns

June 09, 2018


Fasten your seat belts and be ready to welcome the greatest soccer showpiece on the surface of Planet Earth. The 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup is going to begin on June 14, to add a lot of excitement to your summer vacation. It will keep you busy for one complete month as its final will take place on July 15. The mega event takes place once in four years, so enjoy every bit of it.

excitement to your summer vacation. It will keep you busy for one complete month as its final will take place on July 15. The mega event takes place once in four years, so enjoy every bit of it.

Russia is hosting the tournament for the first time. The 32 participating teams are divided into eight groups with the top two from each progressing to the last-16 stage, from where the knockout competition begins. The winners will then advance to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and then to the final. The host country will lock horns with Saudi Arabia in the first match of the edition at 8pm (Pakistan Standard Time).

Russia is going all out to ensure that this turns out to be a flawless tournament in order to uplift its image, as all eyes will be on it. Preparations for the World Cup are practically complete and we can’t wait for it to begin.

The trophy

Kids, you must know that the gold-plated trophy which is awarded to the winners is actually the replica of the original trophy which remains in FIFA’s possession. The original trophy, which depicts two human figures holding up the earth, is made of 18 carat gold, weighs 6.1kg and is 36.8cm tall. The base contains two layers of malachite while the underside of the trophy is engraved with the year and name of each World Cup winner since 1974.

Telstar 18

The official ball to be used in the tournament is Adidas Telstar 18.

Messi introduced the ball at a ceremony in the Russian capital of Moscow on Nov 9, 2017. The ball has six textured patterns glued together.

Live it up

Before start of the World Cup, songs and anthems associated with the event are introduced. This edition’s official song is “Live it up”, by American singer Nicky Jam, featuring American rapper-actor-producer Will Smith and Albanian singer Era Istrefi.

So far it has failed to live up to the expectations of millions of soccer fans around the world.

Jason Derulo has produced the official anthem “Colors” which deals with the idea of different shades of humans. It encourages diversity and promotes unity.


Every football World Cup has its own mascot. This edition’s is a wolf wearing clothes of the colours of the Russian flag. Its shorts are red while its shirt is white and blue, with Russia 2018 written on it. The mascot is also wearing orange sport glasses and is named Zabivaka in Russian, which means “the one who scores”.

Zabivaka will be seen roaming inside the stadiums before and after the matches, entertaining spectators and promoting Russia and its culture.

Luzhniki Stadium

Not only the opening ceremony, the Luzhniki Stadium will also host the first match, a semi-final, the final and few other matches. It is located in Moscow and with the seating capacity of 81,000, is the largest football stadium in Russia and one of the largest in Europe.

The other 11 venues which will host the matches are: Saint Petersburg Stadium(capacity: 67,000 seats) in St Petersburg; Fisht Stadium(48,000 seats) in Sochi; Ekaterinburg Arena(45,000 seats) in Ekaterinburg; Kazan Arena(45,000 seats) in Kazan; Nizhny Novgorod Stadium(45,000 seats) in Nizhny Novgorod; Rostov Arena(45,000 seats) in Rostov-on-Don; Samara Arena(45,000 seats) in Samara; Mordovia Arena(45,000 seats) in Saransk; Volgograd Stadium(45,000 seats) in Volgograd; Spartak Stadium(42,000 seats) in Moscow; and Kaliningrad Stadium(35,212 seats) in Kaliningrad.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 9th, 2018