The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is now just 13 days away from the kick-off. The squads are ready, the groups are sorted, the fixtures are by heart now, and the official mascot — a wolf — has become a known face. The official mascot for FIFA World Cup 2018 is Zabivaka, who is a wolf radiating “fun, charm and confidence”.
Zabivaka means “the one who scores” in Russian.
According to FIFA, the mascot was decided through a contest. More than 1 million votes were cast on FIFA.com and through a live show on Russia’s Channel 1 during a month-long voting period. FIFA says it was the most engaging creative process for an Official Mascot in FIFA World Cup history.
The wolf, created by student designer Ekaterina Bocharova, received 53 per cent of the votes.
Here is the Russian mascot in its all glory:
In a statement about Zabivaka, FIFA said: “The Official Mascot will play a very important role in the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The wolf will not only promote the event and entertain crowds at the stadiums but also become an ambassador for Russia and a worldwide ‘celebrity’.”
Giving the biography of the World Cup mascot, FIFA says: “He is charming, confident and social and has always dreamt of becoming a football star.”
Zabivaka’s other characteristics as per FIFA are:
His favourite sporting pastime is playing football
He is a fair player, values his team members and respects his opponents
He plays with skill and purpose
He is always fun to be around — as the joker in the pack.
He has taken to wearing cool sports glasses when he’s in action; he believes they give him special targeting powers on the pitch.
He loves to pose for photos.
He also has a Facebook account, you can find him here: https://www.facebook.com/zabivaka/
FIFA World Cup mascot history dates back to 1966. The official mascot then was a lion cub, Willie, when the tournament was played in England. Ever since, the mascots have become an essential part of the event.
The mascot for the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil was the three-banded Brazilian armadillo, Fuleco.