After the curtains on the 2017 Confederations Cup fell down last Monday, focus is now on how Russia will handle the 2018 World Cup.
The just-concluded tournament won by Germany over Chile 1-0 served as climax in what was billed as warm-up for the biggest event in football held every four years.
So after the smoke of battle cleared, Russia woke up to begin a more arduous task.
They will be tested if they are ready to take on some aspects that will be related to next year’s World Cup.
One of them is the use of the Video Assistant Referees or VAR which drew mixed reactions from managers, fans and pundits.
The VAR acts as assistant referee that reviews decisions made by the head referee with the use of video footage and a headset for communication.
Six “game-changing decisions’’ were made using the VAR in the group stages of the Confederations Cup, while 29 “major incidents were decided.
This technology may be used during the next year’s World Cup to help referees decide on close calls.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino hailed the use of the VAR as a “great success.
“Without the VAR, we would have had a different tournament and it would have been a little less fair,’’ he said.
Referee will do the decisions and there will be discussions of course, but major errors will be corrected using the VAR.
Still, many aspects are seen to need improvement if the VAR will be fully in use for the coming World Cup.
From the looks of it, it appears there is no way that the VAR can be stopped from being a part of the next World Cup’s decision-making on the pitch.
Another thing which Russia left to impress in hosting the Confederations Cup is that the way they ran the event well, especially for the matches held in Moscow.
Organizers allowed free use of trains for travelling by fans without tickets and said they will do that again in the World Cup.
They were also lauded for tight security at airports and stadiums.
If we use the Confed Cup as gauge on how the World Cup will be handled, Russia will still be in for some serious problems.
There will be four times as many teams arriving for the WC next year.
Aside from that, thousands of fans will also join the crowd so it will really be a stern test of organization and security.
And then of course, the threat of hooliganism, racism and discrimination during the event will likewise be main concerns.
Those will be some of the things that need immediate attention and timely solution.
On the contrary, once Russia settle in to solve those issues early, the coming World Cup is expected to be held under a friendly, helpful and relaxed atmosphere.