Russia, 2018 World Cup, Things You Must Know

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Flickr | Muhammad Ghafari

A lot has happened since Germany lifted the 2014 World Cup trophy in Brazil. The world could sure use some cheering up in the form of global football, even if it’s being held in Russia (what with all the scandals and all). – Russia, 2018 World Cup, Things You Must Know

All of the 32 teams set to compete during the 2018 contest have been decided. Even the groups to which the various participating countries are to be sorted have been determined. ( See World Cup’ 2018 Match schedule )

So all that is needed is the planning to get to where the football is played, along with a side of sightseeing and of course, finding a place to stay while you’re there.

 

Russia, 2018 World Cup, Things You Must Know

 

 

If you haven’t been paying attention to the road to Russia, here are the five things you must know:

 

Russia, 2018 World Cup, Things You Must Know
Flickr | Boss Tweed

 

The Hugeness of Russia

 

Russia-Flag Russia, 2018 World Cup, Things You Must Know

Russia has 11 timezones, but for the sake of travel time, all matches will be played on the western side.

Russia, 2018’World Cup, Things You Must Know

This is a fact that shouldn’t be pointed out because anyone who looks at a map can see exactly that.

But it’s important to stress that because if you hate travel, now is your time to give up and just watch the games on the television instead.

Russia has 11 timezones, but for the sake of travel time, all matches will be played on the western side.

A total of 12 stadiums will be used scattered across 11 cities, with Kaliningrad being furthest destination west and Ekaterinburg being its counterpart on the east.

 

Stadium attractions

If your team is having a bad day, take heart in the fact that you may be seated in a quirky looking stadium. For instance, the Ekaterinburg Arena drew some ridicule for its “extended stands” situated outside the main stadium (to increase seating capacity).

Take lots of pictures because that stand is coming down after the World Cup.

 

Brazil fans watch World Cup quarterfinal São Paulo Fan Fest - Brazil v Colombia on 4 July 2014. © Ben Tavener
Flickr | Ben Tavener

 

You can also hit two birds with one stone by visiting a stadium and taking in some of the attractions close by.

The Kaliningrad Stadium is located on Oktyabrsky Island, which is quite difficult to get to, but it’s in a rather picturesque setting.

Spartak Stadium features a statue of Spartacus while the Fisht Stadium provides a visual feast: the Krasnaya Polyana mountains to the north and the Black Sea to the south.

The first and last matches will be played at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, which has a statue of Lenin at the front entrance. Plus, views of the city can be enjoyed from the concourse.

 

Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia

 

Getting around

Russian stations can be a mystery because the signs are in Cyrillic, but don’t let that bring you down. Of all the cities playing host to World Cup matches, Kazan, Sochi, and St Petersburg are the most navigable.

The trains in Russia are pretty punctual and the four-hour trip from St Petersburg to Moscow has a TV screen and WiFi in case you can’t be bothered to bring any other material for entertainment.

 

Saint Basil's Cathedral Russia, 2018 World Cup, Things You Must Know
Saint Basil’s Cathedral is a church in the Red Square, Moscow

 

Be prepared for weather changes

June is a summer month but you can never really be too sure these days. It was pouring down rain when Russia hosted the Confederations Cup in July 2016. So make sure to pack a coat in case the weather changes.

 

 

Stay safe

Make sure to keep your passport on you, not in a bag or jacket to avoid hassles in case of theft. It’s also best to make copies of all your travel documents to leave with friends or family back home.

Be mindful of where you are as you try to enjoy the game. Big events like the World Cup always draw in the wrong crowd so it’s always best to be on alert while trying to have fun at the same time.

 

Russia, 2018 World Cup, Things You Must Know
Brazil fans watch World Cup quarterfinal. Flickr | Ben Tavener

 

The 2018 World Cup may miss a few big names like Italy and the Netherlands, but there are surprises as well with the tournament being the first for Iceland and Panama. A few countries with long absences have also made their way back: Egypt, Morocco, Peru, and Senegal.

There also might not be a legitimate “group of death” but Spain and Portugal being lumped together in Group B should be quite the tasty affair when they meet at the Fisht Stadium.

The matches between Russia and Saudi Arabia and England and Belgium could be fun for non-football reasons.

All in all, there’s still so much to look forward to with the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But don’t forget to follow the rules and always stay safe while enjoying the games!

 

Brazil fans watch World Cup quarterfinal São Paulo Fan Fest - Brazil v Colombia on 4 July 2014
Flickr | Ben Tavener

 

WORLD CUP’2018, RUSSIA

 

 

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'La Vacanza' literally means 'The Holiday'. La Vacanza Travel is a leading travel agency headquartered in New Delhi, India.
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