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Russia 2018: A beginner’s guide

Boat-hopping between stadiums, doughy pancakes in Tatar enclaves, and opulent underground stations… Marc Bennetts looks forward to the one that got away

So football isn’t coming home after all in 2018 – it’s packing its suitcase for a trip to Russia instead. Gutting, if you’re English, but “kruto” – “wicked” – if you hail from the land of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Andrei Arshavin.

The Russians love a big event – especially as they don’t get many – and while the country still has a lot to do to prepare for the tournament, organising a World Cup is unlikely to prove beyond them – these are, after all, the people that put the first man into space. The country has already taken a massive step forward by announcing that visa requirements, which currently pretty much apply to anyone not from a former Soviet republic, will be scrapped for the duration of the tournament.

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