On Thursday, FIFA announced the plans for the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, an immense trek across the vast landscape of Russia as the world’s most coveted hardware visits 24 cities from Sept. 9 to July 7, 2018.
For World Cup groupies, better stock up on gas, Red Bull and beef jerky if you want to follow along.
Here’s a closer look at scheduled route.
(While FIFA didn’t give details on travel arrangements, we’re going to assume the trophy travels by plane at the start and end of each of two phases and by car the remainder.)
When it comes to the notoriously ill-advised FIFA World Ranking system, there’s generally a lot to laugh at. Nations are cruelly punished by virtue of not playing (the United States, unbeaten since November of 2016, drops 12 places to 35th) while others largely benefit by playing lesser sides in meaningful competition (Poland is up to sixth after waxing Romania in World Cup qualifying).
It turns out Trump was right. You can get sick of winning. Germany winning, that is. Especially when German guy Lothar Matthäus starts rubbing it in.
Before you get your undies in a bunch and start telling us that "Lothar Matthäus isn't just some 'German guy,'" and that he may or may not be the greatest German player in history, let us cut you off. We know. We know he played in five World Cups. We know he's the most capped player in German history. We have the internets.
Soccer has fans in all the nations of the world, with countries as small as San Marino (population 33,000) and as big as China (1.38 billion) fighting for the World Cup trophy.
Regardless of size, some countries, like Uruguay, are far more successful than others, say, Indonesia.
But what sets the following nations apart isn’t their success or failure, it’s their fans' relationship with the latter.
If you're looking for a sleeper team at the 2018 World Cup, Iran is a good candidate.
They were recently the third team to qualify for Russia 2018, having gone undefeated in both the second and third rounds of AFC qualifying to this point (12-4-0).
Former Italian international and Juventus star Alessandro Del Piero, now aged 42, made a viral return over the weekend by doing what he does best: he scored a sensational goal. Representing C.S.D. Municipal in a friendly in Guatemala City, Pinturicchio used his creativity to create some space and then he sent a trademark effort into the corner.
Good ol' Alessandro Del Piero at a charity match, showing he's still got it... pic.twitter.com/JgohSPaYB3