Russia is still euphoric over their successful staging of the recent 2017 Confederations Cup.
That was a run-up to an even more colossal event the country is hosting – the 2018 World Cup.
Pressure though will start to heap on the hosts as football’s biggest tournament draws near.
In less than 12 months, all eyes will be on the country and excitement continues to buildup unabated.
Adding more hype to the grand football competition is the much-awaited FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour which will start its journey around Russia in September.
The itinerary was announced during a ceremony at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, where the captain of the 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning side will lift the trophy in a year’s time.
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura was in joyful mood after the announcement.
She said: “In the world of sports, there is simply no symbol as powerful as the FIFA World Cup Trophy. The whole planet knows this piece of art and associates it with glory. For FIFA it is also the passion of millions of fans around the world — regardless of age, gender, origin or social condition — represented in one single image.’’
The coming Tour will be the longest of a host nation in the history of the World Cup.
It will be over 123 days of journey covering more than 26,000 kilometers.
The Trophy will visit 24 Russian cities, from Vladivostok in the Far East to Kaliningrad, the most westerly of the host cities, and will end in the capital city of Moscow.
First staged ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany, the Trophy Tour held in cooperation with FIFA’s long-time partner Coca-Cola is now a firmly-established tradition and is growing in scope and outreach with each staging.
In general, the Tour will visit 90 countries, spanning more than 92,000 miles.
And as the Tour approaches, French football legend and 1998 FIFA World Cup winner Marcel Desailly, who recently attended the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, believes that Russia will host a highly-successful 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Trophy Tour is a key component of the World Cup itself. It will last for a total of 221 days.
It helps people, particularly the youth, in many ways such as making them happy, forget their problems, pushing them to study and work hard and most of all inspire them to live.
Russia will be waiting in earnest and countdown has already began.
Come hell or high water, the country must show to all and sundry that they are ready to host World Cup 2018 because the whole world will be watching.