The world cup is heating up and everyone’s raring to go wild. With more matches coming up more frequently, the world cup is going to be an event for the ages. There are so many upsets that one can’t help but think – what’s next? Aur kya ho sakta hai? From Germany’s extra-time goal to Messi’s good luck charm on his ankles, there is so much excitement going on and everyone’s hooked.
There have been some really interesting upsets in terms of matchups this year, and some of the smaller countries have outclassed everybody else. The pressure is on and we just don’t know which player and which team will come out on top. There have been millions of memes floating around but here are the 10 unknown facts about FIFA –
#1 This year’s mascot is a Russian Wolf
His name is Zabivaka and he’s roaring the pitch across this year’s FIFA matches. His cute furry face won an online poll receiving 53% of the popular vote. There were many designs chose, but this one won the match. His name literally translates to “the one who scores” as Russia promises this world cup to be all about scoring with confidence.
#2 You can get an instant visa if you buy a ticket
Your ticket comes with a Fan-ID that permits you to travel to Russia to watch the games. It’s a really simple and consumer-first approach taken by the Russian govt and has boosted the viewership across. The government hopes that this will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to come and witness the country’s beauty first-hand. If you’re single, then this is the best way to meet with the gorgeous Russian women.
#3 The oldest player playing this year is 45 years old!
Talk about pushing the envelope, Egypt’s Essam El Hadary is the world’s oldest player. Don’t worry he’s not running around as a striker or a defender, he’s a goalie. This means that he needs to have quick reflexes and timing. He displayed just that this year, when he made a crucial save last week in the penalties.
#4 The format next time is going to change
The next time the world cup comes around, we’re going to see more teams compete in the tournament. They’re moving things around with a 48-team format rather than a 32 nation one. This means that more people will be coming to the host nation, to support their team. This will enhance overall business and local tourism as well.
#5 This world cup is going to cost $12 Billion to Russia
The amount may sound like a lot, but the return on the investment is multi-fold. Whenever a host nation gets the rights to hold the tournament, they receive multiple advantages in trade negotiations and rights. Putin will be giving each participating nation $8 Million, which is a lot for the smaller nations when competing. If India had qualified, they would have received INR 50 crores.
#6 The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in history!
Over 3 billion (almost half the population) watched the world cup in 2014. This year is going to be much bigger, seeing the power of social media and online publications. There is a lot of scope when it comes to marketing and advertising around the event, as brands compete for the top spot.
#7 Zimbabwe couldn’t qualify because of a severance fee unpaid
This is probably the weirdest way in which a team couldn’t qualify for an event. The team didn’t pay a severance fee for their previous coach and thus were disqualified from participating. Although they had cleared all their qualifier rounds, they still were unable to take part.
#8 The biggest names in FIFA haven’t qualified this year
This includes USA, which is home to the largest audience in the planet, and Italy which couldn’t make it past the qualifiers. This year has truly been a shocking one, as no team has a clean upper hand and qualification comes down to the final moments in the match. It’s been one of the few times where a former champ hasn’t qualified.
#9 The only country to qualify from Asia? – South Korea
It’s got a consistent streak of qualifying since 1986 and has done so with flying colours. It has been one of the brightest sparks over the last decade. South Korea repeatedly produces championship worthy-team that represent Asia on a global stage.
#10 Brazil is the only country to have competed in every FIFA World Cup tournament
Yes, you heard that right. Brazil, one of the happiest places in the world, produces champions for generations past. They’ve been delivering a solid performance on the field forever. They’ve won the title 5 times, which is a combined dominance of 20 years’ worth of football. Really surprising!