In about a year, the 2018 World Cup would kick off in Russia yet the excitement is yet to kick in. Compared to the hype and anticipation of previous versions of the World Cup, the forthcoming one is not sending a strong signal.

The excitement about the 2002 event in Korea/Japan was amazing as the Asians wanted to wow the world with its advanced technology and infrastructures. It was a decent build up after the 1998 World Cup in France, where football was played unadulterated. The 2006 event in Germany fit the hype as European sides wanted to impress. It ended in Zinedine Zidane’s poor exit and Italy’s sweet story.

Ahead of the 2010 event in South Africa, there was excitement and fears for the first World Cup in African soil – in a country that was placing a strong foot in world football after a history of apartheid and racism. Brazil had theirs as the ‘perfectors’ of the game in 2014. It is 2017 and no major story ahead of the event in Russia next year aside fan hooliganism, weak economy, terrorism and that.

The sociocultural challenges ahead of the tournament and the alleged issues in FIFA’s naming of Russia are strong reasons for the lull. For now, only Brazil and Iran have sealed their place at the event.

Brazil is leading the CONMEBOL qualification standings with its tally meaning they would be an automatic side. The Western Asian nation defeated Uzbekistan 2-0 recently to maintain their lead in their World Cup qualifying group

Russia that has not seen its GDP rise significantly from 2008, according to the World Bank might suffer economic turmoil if things do not go as planned next year.