The World Cup in Russia is now upon us. That means 32 nations competing in 64 matches to determine which is the world’s best.
For Russia, and especially the 11 host cities, it will be the culmination of years of planning and preparation.
As we prepare for the big kick-off on June 14, we take a look at some of the fascinating facts and figures.
11 – Number of host cities at the finals in Russia. There are 12 venues, with two located in the capital, Moscow.
89 – percentage of available tickets that have been bought for the 64 matches at World Cup finals
The lines are painted at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow as the World Cup approaches
2.374 million – the total number of tickets sold for the World Cup as of the beginning of May
46 – percentage of those tickets that have been sold to Russians. Of the remainder, fans from the United States and China have purchased the most tickets despite neither team qualifying for the finals.
30,711 – number of tickets sold to England fans. That’s less than the number sold to Peruvians (38,544).
55,136 – the number of tickets snapped up by German supporters as they try and see their side retain the trophy
View from the top of the temporary stand at the Ekaterinburg Arena ahead of the World Cup
500,000 – estimated number of international tourists coming to Russia
£84 – price of the cheapest ticket for the final if bought via FIFA
£793 – price of the most expensive ticket for the final
£15.38 – cost of the cheapest ticket for a group stage fixture – only available to Russian residents. For everyone else, the cheapest is £75.75.
49,300 – average capacity of the 12 World Cup venues
5.33 – average number of matches staged at each venue
£9.75 billion – estimated cost for Russia to stage the tournament – it will be the most expensive in history.
Russian president Vladimir Putin (centre) and FIFA president Gianni Infantino inspect stadiums
70 – percentage of that cost that will be coming from the public coffers and taxpayers, the remainder made up by private investors.
£3.07 billion – amount that Russia will spend on construction and renovations of stadia and related infrastructure
£5.1 billion – amount Russia is spending on upgrading transport infrastructure for the tournament
£19.5 billion – the economic boost the Russian organisers are hoping for as a result of staging the World Cup
0.3 – projected percentage growth to Russia’s GDP as a result of the World Cup
800 – hectares of city parks and green spaces set to be renovated to ensure a World Cup legacy
The statue of Spartacus located outside the Spartak Stadium in Moscow
3 billion – the estimated worldwide television audience for the World Cup
11 – number of airports being upgraded to handle World Cup tourists
31 – railway stations will be reconstructed to handle the visitors
728 – number of additional train services being put on to transport fans – they’re free with a match ticket and FAN ID.
1970 – Tournament the official Adidas matchball, the Telstar 18, was inspired by.
The Adidas Telstar 18, inspired by the 1970 World Cup match ball, will be used at Russia 2018
60,000 – number of licensed taxi cabs in Moscow, that’s one per 209 residents
66 pence – cost of one-way Metro journey in Moscow. It’s half that in many of the other cities.
27 – new hotels being built in the host cities
5,000 – percentage increase in nightly rates at some hotels in host cities
561 – number of hotels found to be price-hiking by the Russian Federal Agency for Consumer Rights Protection (Rospotrebnadzor)
£68,325 – total fines handed out to these hotels along with 187 warnings
£1.2 million – cost of contracts to kill stray dogs in the host cities ahead of the finals.
The official poster for the tournament, featuring great Soviet Union goalkeeper Lev Yashin
750,000 – Russia hopes the World Cup will inspire a rise in the number of registered football players from the current 331,000
30,000 – volunteers will be needed to help stage the tournament
100,000 – estimated number of jobs created by the World Cup, including 13,000 on construction projects
1 million – number of Russians who voted to choose the tournament mascot, a wolf called ‘Zabivaka’ (‘one who scores’)
Russians voted for Zabivaka, a wolf, as the official mascot for the World Cup finals
£0 – cost of FAN ID to ensure visa-free travel in and out of Russia for the tournament.
4 – Number of time zones the World Cup venues span
1,800 – number of miles from the most westerly venue – Kaliningrad – to the most easterly – Ekaterinburg.
£1.12 billion – rumoured cost to build the Krestovsky stadium in Saint-Petersburg, many times over the initial estimate and the most expensive football stadium in the world.
The Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg looks very impressive but proved very expensive
7 – The pitch at the Krestovsky was found to vibrate seven times more than the permissible limit when first laid.
81,006 – capacity of the redeveloped Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the largest venue in the tournament and stage for the final on July 15.
450 – number of days taken to build the original Luzhniki Stadium – capacity over 100,000 – in 1955 and 1956.
5 – The Luzhniki will become the fifth stadium to hosts the final of the World Cup, the final of the European Cup/Champions League and the Olympic Games.
The Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow spectacularly lit up close to the Moskva River
22 – number of times Spartak Moscow, who are playing at the other venue in Moscow, have won the Russian league title.
50 – per cent chance of rain in Moscow. Pack a brolly.
503 years – age of the Kremlin building in Nizhny Novgorod, which can be seen from the stadium.
28,000 – reduced capacity of the Saransk Stadium (down from 44,442) when local third-tier side Mordovia Saransk move in. The upper tier will be removed and replaced by a walking concourse.
4,030 square metres – size of the enormous TV screen on the side of the Kazan Arena.
The illuminated glass dome at the Cosmos Arena in Samara, as imagined by the designer
65 metres – Height of the glass dome at the Cosmos Arena in Samara, which should look very cool lit up at night.
3,500 – average attendance of second-tier Baltika Kaliningrad, set to move into the 35,212-seater stadium there. 10,000 seats will be removed after the tournament.
2,867 metres – Height of Mount Fisht in the Caucasus – the stadium in Sochi is named after it.
View from the Fisht Stadium in Sochi – the 40,000-capacity stadium will host six games
1,090 miles – distance from Moscow to Ekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city. It is another 4,590 miles to Vladivostok on the eastern coast.
1703 – year Saint Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great as the country’s new imperial capital.
13 – number of watchtowers on the 2km-long brick fortress wall that surrounds Nizhny Novgorod. The city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
180,000 – student population of Kazan in 30 universities.
85 metres – height of the ‘Motherland Calling’ statue in Volgograd to mark the bloody Battle of Stalingrad during the Second World War.
The ‘Motherland Calling’ monument in Volgograd remembering the siege of Stalingrad
37 metres – depth of Stalin’s bunker in Samara, which became an unofficial ‘second capital’ during the Second World War.
90 – percent of the world’s amber deposits that are found in the Kaliningrad region.