- The official football of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is named as Adidas Telstar. The word Telstar is a blend of two words — Television and Star — which pays homage to the first-ever Adidas World Cup ball. Almost 50 years later, Telstar 18 features a brand new carcass, high technology and sustainable elements such as recycled packaging. On Adidas website, the FIFA World Cup Official Gameball is available for $124, FIFA World Cup Premium Official Game Ball for $1,000 and FIFA World Cup Jumbo Ball for $225. If you are a fan of Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Mexico or Spain, you can buy a ball with the country’s name emblazoned on it, available for $20 each.
- Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium will host the opening ceremony as well as the final match. The stadium, has a capacity of 80,000 people. It is the biggest stadium rebuilt in Russia ahead of the FIFA tournament while keeping its old architectural facade intact. Apart from the Grand Sports Arena, the sports cluster includes a large ice arena, a water sports palace and a tennis centre. Shortly after the World Cup, the cable car will be launched, and plans are in place to open several museums. Luzhniki’s transformation will continue after the football tournament.
- The official mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia — Zabivaka — means ‘the one who scores’ in Russian, a very suitable name for this wolf who radiates fun, charm and confidence. More than one million Russians cast their votes on FIFA.com during the month-long voting period. Zabivaka was designed by a student Ekaterina Bocharova. The official Facebook page of Zabivaka (www.facebook.com/zabivaka) gives you latest updates of the World Cup and also a chance to take part in contests and win exciting prizes such as Zabivaka T-shirt and a chance to meet the mascot if you are in Russia.
- The distance between the easternmost host city (Ekaterinburg) and the westernmost host city (Kaliningrad) at the 2018 World Cup is over 2,415 km — that’s about the same distance as Moscow to London.
- Amongst the various tabs on the official FIFA website, under the Host Cities section is one labelled McDonald’s clicking on which guides you to every outlet in the city so you never get confused where to grab a quick bite. Interestingly, the first ever McDonald’s in the USSR opened in Moscow in 1990 and is still operational which is also the largest McDonald’s restaurant in Europe.
- England will have representation in the opening ceremony in the form of ’90s pop icon, Robbie Williams, who will be joined by Russian soprano Aida Garifullina. Will Smith, along with singers Nicky Jam and Era Istrefi, will also make the world dance to their official FIFA World Cup song titled Live it up.
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The live telecast of the opening ceremony (at 6.30 pm IST) and FIFA matches will be available on all Sony networks and the event will live stream on Sony LIV app.