It’s safe to say that Russia will have a lot to live up to in 2018, as following Brazil as host nation of the World Cup will take some doing.
It’s been a tournament to remember in South America, with the years of organisation coming together perfectly and producing a blockbuster World Cup.
The Russians were announced as the 2018 hosts back in 2010, and with eight years of preparation before it all kicks off, let’s hope we’re going to be treated to something special.
The 2014 edition of the World Cup hasn’t even reached its climax yet, but we’re already looking forward to 2018.
When the curtain does come down on Brazil, the countdown will officially begin, and as FIFA.com reports, the Russians have been using 2014’s instalment to observe exactly what they need to do to make a tournament special.
LOC chairman and Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko explained why over 100 delegates have been keeping a close eye on the last month of action:
Brazil's FIFA World Cup is, in essence, our main and only opportunity to observe in real time how a tournament is held. That’s why we have devised a special programme that will encompass practically all those involved in preparations for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, so that they can see for themselves what we are facing in four years' time.
What they’re immediately facing is constructing the stadiums to host the festival of football, and here’s the list of host cities and stadiums that will be packed with passionate fans in 2018:
|Saint Petersburg||Zenit Arena|
|Moscow||Luzhniki Stadium, Otkritie Arena|
|Nizhny Novgorod||Strelka Stadium|
|Sochi||Fisht Olympic Stadium|
It seems that Russia have plenty of time to get their stadiums prepared for the tournament, but Brazil needed every second possible get their plans in place prior to the big kick-off, so it’s important to stay on schedule.
To make sure that they stay up to date with the construction work, Mutko revealed that surveillance systems are in place, per FIFA.com:
“The video surveillance system will be vital for monitoring construction of the 2018 World Cup stadiums. We intend to keep strict control over both stadium construction schedules and compliance with the stadium requirements set out by FIFA.”
However, as with every World Cup campaign, it’s the football that takes centre stage, and all anyone can talk about before, during and after the action.
The stars of the show could be tender youngsters in clubs’ youth ranks right now, while some of the game’s current brightest stars may not be around for the next tournament.
However, one man pretty much guaranteed to be making an impact in Russia is Brazil star Neymar, who will be 26 and at the peak of his game in 2018.
His place in that tournament's squad looks to be cemented already, as the Mirror’s Jack Lang reported:
Neymar asked if he'd like to wake up just before Russia 2018 (!). "I'd like to wake up and be on field with my team-mates. That's all." #BRA— Jack Lang (@snap_kaka_pop) July 10, 2014
His Barcelona colleague Lionel Messi will be 31 when World Cup 2018 comes around, and presenter Tim Lovejoy still thinks he’s yet to prove himself at the tournament:
Though he’s led Argentina to the final, he hasn’t written himself into tournament folklore just yet, and he’ll hope that 2018 could be his year.
Brazil’s World Cup showed us that there are so many promising youngsters in world football—from the world-renowned likes of Neymar to lesser-known nations’ brightest young talents.
It means that 2018’s tournament could even more hotly contested than 2014, with drama and excitement aplenty. Let the countdown commence.