With less than two months left until the start of one of the most highly anticipated events in the sports world, football (soccer) fans are rushing to buy tickets to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The mish-mash at International Football Federation ticket centers across the globe began a day before direct sales for World Cup tickets even started.
"I have been standing in a queue since yesterday. I came at eight o’clock in the evening and still was 53rd in the row,” football fan Alexander Derzhyn told TASS. “People had been standing here since 8 a.m. yesterday. I hope for any tickets - at least to Moscow or to Kaliningrad – anywhere,” Alexander said.
“It was not possible to buy tickets online, so now, it is the last chance. Applications have been submitted since November: for the first stage of sales, for the second stage, for the third stage, but it did not work out. Hope dies last, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance [to attend the World Cup in own country]," he added.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will bring together 32 of the best national teams to compete for the prestigious and iconic gold trophy, will be held in 11 Russian cities, from June 14 through July 15. More than $10 billion has been spent to build 12 stadiums throughout the country.
Russia is hosting the games for the first time, as European governments are calling for a political boycott due to geopolitical disputes and an ongoing multilateral diplomatic spat that erupted earlier this year after a former Russian spy was mysteriously poisoned in the U.K.
Tickets sales have been divided into three phases in order to ensure a fair and transparent allocation of tickets. To date, more than 1.5 million tickets have been sold to fans worldwide, and Russian football fans are at the tip of the list. Roughly 800,000 fans will be present at the games, overtaking the U.S. (80,161), Brazil (65,863), Colombia (60,199), Germany (55,136), Mexico (51,736), Argentina (44,882), Peru (38,544), China (36,841), Australia (34,628) and England (30,711).