The last sale stage of tickets to the 2018 FIFA World Cup starts on Wednesday, April 18. The RIA “Voronezh” sports observer talked to the residents of the region who had already bought the tickets and found out what troubles they had to face while planning their trips. The fans told what games they were going to see, what they were expecting from the Russian National Team and explained why going to the main football tournament of the planet was worth it.

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Oleg Velnes-Tarasov, a medical massage specialist:

– We will watch five games of the World Cup. Peru vs. Dania and Iran vs. Portugal in Saransk, Serbia vs. Costa Rica in Samara, Iran vs. Spain in Kazan and England vs. Panama in Nizhny Novgorod. We booked the tickets blindfold, before the drawing procedure was actually held. Still, it is the World Cup, which means that it doesn’t really matter what games in particular are going to take place. In any case, it is a great holiday, and the actual countries to participate in them are of little consequence.

When we were searching for a place to stay, we looked at the prices and decided that it wasn’t worth the trouble – renting one was unlikely anyway. We’ll buy a tent, there have to be camping sites there. We will probably live outside the city. After all, we’ll be taking a car, so we’ll try to find a place in the nearby towns. I’ve looked into a free train trip, but this way of travelling is only convenient if you’re coming from Moscow. There is no way to get to straight from Samara to Kazan. As for the fan’s passport, it took some nerve-racking. The photograph requires so many little details that I wasn’t able to take the right one from the first try. However, I received the passport just a couple of weeks after the registration procedure.

I would advise everyone to go over their bags. You have to be light-handed on the game day because they will check you at the entrance. A lot of stuff will surely have to be left behind, which essentially means throwing it away. You should also look into cheap places to eat in the cities you’re going to. And if you’re going alone, don’t hesitate to look for fellow travelers in social networks. It is both more fun and safe. But the main thing is to be hospitable; you have to remember that football fans are not politicians. The world needs to see the best side of Russia. Right now it is more important than ever.

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Alexander Buynitsky, a player of HC Buran:

– I think that if you have the slightest chance of going to any game of the World Cup, you have to seize it. It is a world-scale event, the one we will tell our grandchildren about. We’re very lucky that the tournament will be held in Russian in this period of our lives. After all, it will be much harder to attend such an event in other countries.

I’m a long-time fan of the Spanish National Team and FC Barcelona. So I decided to go to the Spain vs. Portugal game in Sochi. It is without a doubt the most interesting game of the whole group stage of the World Cup. It will be fascinating to go there, to see the Olympic Games facilities. The close proximity to the sea is also a plus, it is wonderful. I tried to buy tickets as a pack to all three games of the Spanish National Team, but when it came my turn on the website, there were already none left. And that’s even before the drawing procedure! The second time I applied after the drawing and to a certain game, and I got lucky after the lottery. And obtaining the fan’s passport was very easy. I filled out a small form, uploaded a photo and received a text message confirmation. Then I just picked the passport at a local Russian Post office.

When I got to booking train tickets, there were already no free tickets left. And even if there were any, I would have to pass Moscow on the way and travel for 37-40 hours. So I bought tickets to a Voronezh – Sochi train three months ahead. The prices were acceptable even for compartment tickets, and I’d spend much less time travelling. And I’m not going to stay in the city for the night. I’ve heard about the astronomical accommodation rent prices during the World Cup. That’s life, everyone makes money the way he can. So I decided to have a one-day trip. I’ll arrive on the day of the game and leave after it.

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Denis Korolev, a pharmacist:

– We are going to Rostov-on-Don for the Brazil vs. Switzerland game. We booked the tickets before the drawing procedure, so we got this game randomly. We really wanted to get to Luzhniki Stadium for the opening game of the World Cup, Russia vs. Saudi Arabia, but we were out of luck with the ticket distribution. Instead we got lucky with accommodation – I’m going to the game with my brother, and he has a course mate living in Rostov-on-Don, so we’ll be staying at his place. We’ll be driving a car there. As for fan’s passports, everything was simple and quick. For the second time already we’ve received ours without any problems. The first time we went to the Russia vs. Portugal game of the FIFA Confederation Cup at Otkrytie Arena Stadium of FC Spartak Moscow.

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Fyodor Klygin, a football referee:

– I booked the tickets to games after the drawing procedure, I wanted to get to Nizhny Novgorod and Samara, because there we would meet with our friends from different cities whom I know from beach football tournaments. We’ll be staying at their place. The tickets, the fan’s passport – all of it can be done quickly and without any problems. The only unresolved issue yet is transportation, but I’m sure it will work out. I’d advise everyone to get tickets while they are still available. There is no telling when a great holiday like the FIFA World Cup will be held in our country again. For me personally it will be the first football tournament of such scale.

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Pavel Denisov, a logistics manager:

– It will be unique – foreign fans in the colors of their teams, football of the highest level, comfortable stadiums. I was at Euro 2012 Denmark – Holland match, in 2004 I went to the Champions League game “Lokomotiv” – “Real,” it was amazing. The Russian championship favorites are France, Germany, Brazil, maybe, Uruguay. Another team will definitely be successful, like Senegal in 2002, Iceland during Euro-2016. I’ll attend three World Cup 2018 matches. First I’ll go to Volgograd for Poland – Japan game, and then to the 1/8 finals game in Nizhny Novgorod, and then to Moscow for the semifinals of the tournament. I applied for myself and my brother during the first stage of the sales, and I was lucky. I’ll get to Volgograd on my own, and from there to Nizhny Novgorod by a free train. And I’m going to the capital by a regular train, because the free train Adler – Moscow does not stop in Voronezh. I haven’t made any reservations so far, but I’m not worried – my friend can help me in Volgograd, I have many friends in Nizhny Novgorod, and my sister lives in Moscow.

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Alexey Kotenev, an engineer:

- This will be my first World Cup – previously I visited only the Confederations Cup and qualifying matches of the Russian national team. Like any fan, I want my national team to win, but to be realistic, our team will be able to progress to knock-out stage from the second place in the group and in the 1/8 to meet with Spain, most likely losing to it. I bought tickets for Saudi Arabia – Egypt matches in Volgograd and Iceland – Croatia in Rostov-on-Don. I bought the first one blindly – if I knew who is to play, I would not buy this ticket. I bought the second one after the draw. Most likely, I’ll go there only for one day – the apartments are unreasonably expensive. As for the tickets, the prices are adequate, except for the opening match and the finals. I’ll take a free train from Volgograd to Rostov-on-Don. My tip for everyone going to the matches: the security measures at the Confederations Cup were very strict, even an ordinary deodorant in your backpack was forbidden. So it’s better to go without things or leave them in the locker room.

The context

The FIFA World Cup will be held for the first time in Russia from June 14 to July 15, 2018 at 12 stadiums in 11 cities. The tournament will be hosted by Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Saransk, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd and Nizhny Novgorod. 32 national teams will take part in the world championship. Voronezh will provide a training base to the tournament participant – Morocco national team: the team will prepare for the World Cup at “Chaika” stadium. “Chaika” and “Lokomotiv” arenas have been reconstructed in the city in the framework of the preparation for the 2018 World Cup. In October, the World Cup was brought to Voronezh as part of Russia tour. 12 thousand people took photographs with the trophy for two days.