Russia unveil Zabivaka the wolf as mascot for 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Russia unveil Zabivaka the wolf as mascot for 2018 FIFA World Cup

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SportsCafe Desk

10/22/2016

Zabivaka the wolf has been unveiled as the mascot for the next edition of the FIFA World Cup that will be held in Russia in 2018. Zabivaka is loosely translated as “the one who scores” in Russian, and the mascot has been designed by Russian student Ekaterina Bocharova.

The wolf, who received 53% of the votes in an online pole conducted by FIFA, was followed by tiger (27%) and cat (20%).

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said that he was confident that Zabivaka would be a "massive hit" with fans. The first competitive event that the mascot will debut in will be the 2017 Confederations Cup.

“I am sure Zabivaka will be a massive hit among fans at the Confederations Cup in 2017 and 2018 World Cup,” Mutko told the media.

FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura told the media that the project to select the next mascot had started 18 months ago. He also praised the enthusiasm of the Russians during the selection that highlighted their commitment to the World Cup.

“To get to the stage of seeing the wolf chosen today, we first collected the preferences of Russian kids through an online poll. Based on those ideas, university students submitted their designs and now the public have chosen their favourite character from among the final three," Samoura said.

"Eighteen months after kicking-off this project, we are extremely happy that the 2018 mascot is the result of a team effort where the Russian people demonstrated their creative flair and their strong commitment to putting on a successful Fifa World Cup.”

Brazillian legend Ronaldo was also in attendance in Moscow where the ceremony was held, and said that he could already see the success of the World Cup in the world's largest country.

“Mascots are great ambassadors for promoting the event and bring so much joy to the stadiums. I can see it happening already in Russia with Zabivaka just by seeing him on stage tonight. He will surely be remembered for a very long time by football fans all over the world," said the 2002 World Cup winner.

Zabivaka will follow Fuleco, a three-banded armadillo, who was the mascot at Rio 2016.

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