Russia’s football fans will begin the FIFA 2018 World Cup countdown at 1000 days on 18 September. The Russia 2018 Organizing Committee will mark that date with a series of events in Moscow and beyond. Anyone is welcome to take part. Twenty two Russian cities will join the 11 World Cup host cities in the celebrations: Vladivostok, Sevastopol, Tambov, Cheliabinsk, Arkhangelsk, Syktyvkar, Tver, Krasnodar, Stavropol, Yaroslavl, Petrozavodsk, Khabarovsk, Omsk, Tomsk, Yakutsk, Pyatigorsk, Khanty-Mansiysk, Surgut, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Nalchik, and Saratov.
In Moscow, the festivities will take place in the city centre. The countdown clock will be set in the morning at Manezhnaya ploshchad, counting the time left before the 21st FIFA World Cup.
The official part will be attended by Russia’s First Deputy Premier Igor Chuvalov, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who chairs the Russia 2018 Organizing Committee, FIFA Events Director Colin Smith, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobianin, and Russia 2018 CEO Alexei Sorokin.
Visiting Moscow for the 1000 Days events will be Germany’s football icon, national team captain, 1990 FIFA World Cup winner and European Footballer of the Year Lothar Matthaeus, and legendary Italian footballer Gianluca Zambrotta, whose performance won Italy the 2006 World Cup. Matthaeus and Zambrotta will be the guests of honour at the international under-16 junior football tournament, to kick off in Red Square at 11:45 AM on 18 September. The two legends will also attend the countdown clock setting ceremony for the 2018 World Cup.
“Russian football fans deserve their World Cup,” Lothar Matthaeus said. “I look forward to the Russian tournament with great impatience. I have deep respect for Russia, its personality and its people. I’m positive that every effort will be made to make World Cup participants and guests feel welcome in Russia.”
“It feels great to be part of such a highlight, and I’m proud to represent Italian football in Moscow,” said Gianluca Zambrotta. “I’m excited to watch a football game in an unusual and exotic place like Red Square. It’s a great idea!”
A World Cup interactive fan park will open in Red Square. The most active fans will get a chance to train together with international star players and get their autographs.
In Kaliningrad, festivities will continue until 20 September. A citywide picnic, Kaliningrad Street Food Weekend 2015, will be one of the events taking place on Kant Island, mainly on the embankment facing the Yunost sports arena. At the food court, the traditional street food specialties will be complemented by cuisine d’auteur treats. Gourmet chefs from Russia and beyond will showcase their best dishes alongside recipes with traditional local ingredients. The food fest will feature some 50 culinary projects from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and Europe outside Russia. Mobile cafés, or food trucks, will be deployed in the area to make sure no one goes hungry. Other events will include the international short film festival Koroche (Long Story Short), a local folk arts and crafts show, dance master classes, photo shows, public lectures on a range of scientific and cultural topics, hands-on lessons in robot and quadrocopter assembly, and a freestyle and cheerleader show. Active recreation areas will be provided. The countdown for World Cup 2018 will begin at 8:18 PM local time, and a laser show will concurrently unfold. The festival will go on until 20 September. As a World Cup 2018 host city, Kaliningrad will introduce its Ambassador at some point during the celebrations.
Nizhny Novgorod will be celebrating all weekend. A concert will be staged in the city’s Teatralnaya Square, featuring a parade of local dance troupes, singers, and football freestyle teams. Other events will include a football match, photo show, installation of football-themed bus stops, football lessons, and a football-themed graffiti contest.
In Saransk, the festivities will be timed to coincide with a Russia Cup 9th round game between the local Mordovia team and Moscow’s CSCA, due on 20 September. Also on the event plan are a show of Saransk, Host City videos, a gig of local pop band October Sun, a massive balloon launch by Mordovia’s Ogarev State University volunteers, and rollout of 1000 Days- themed fabric banners by volunteers and fans in the stadium’s easterly stalls. In the hallway between the first checkpoint and stadium entrance, fans will find 1000 Days and Saransk 2018 face paint kits, and themed hardposters (tintamarresques) with a photo stand.
Ekaterinburg will celebrate in its historic park at Plotinka, an old dam. From 5:00 PM on, residents of the Ural Capital will witness a succession of celebrity guests, cheerleaders, sports aerobic shows, contests, quizzes and master classes. The littlest guests of the festival will not be left with nothing to do. A giant football trampoline will be set up in the playground. None of those who come to Plotinka to mark the start of the 2018 World Cup countdown that evening will leave without a 2018 World Cup themed souvenir as the organizers have prepared a plentiful stock of those.
The Ekaterinburg football freestyle team promises to be the festival’s hottest ticket. Timur Alexeev, the recent Max1 world champ, is on the team. Max1 is about how many tricks you play with a football before it hits the ground.
The city’s official 2018 World Cup Ambassadors will be introduced at the fest. The line-up consists of famous people who were born and/or live in Ekaterinburg, representing a range of backgrounds: sports, culture, and show business. At the high point of the festivities, a flash mob of a thousand volunteers, wearing 2018 World Cup uniforms, will line up to form the number 1000.
Samara will mark the start of the 1000-day countdown for the 2018 World Cup with a “1000 Days to the Dream” football marathon. Two football teams with names symbolic for the city, Rocket and Boat, will be playing continuously for 1000 minutes from 6:00 to 10:40 PM in a football field close to the Volga embankment that evening. All generations of footballers will take turns playing for the teams while the game continues, from children’s sports school students to veterans. In total, about 400 people will get a chance to play. One score will be kept for the whole game. Every participant will receive a 1000 Days to the Dream t-shirt and branded medal. While the game continues, the hosts and commentators will keep informing the audience, gathered on the embankment, that 1000 days exactly are left before the championship, as well as commenting on the progress of the game.