Thursday 20 October 2016, 09:54

Relive the Mascot unveiling

The Official Mascot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ was finally revealed on Friday 21 October! Russian football fans voted on for which character they would like to see as the face of Russia 2018: a cat, tiger or wolf.

The three contenders took centre stage in a live TV broadcast in Russia on Channel 1’s specially-created show, where the eagerly-awaited winner was unveiled as Zabivaka the wolf. 2002 FIFA World Cup™ winner Ronaldo was in attendance along with a variety of guests. You can watch the internationally-broadcasted segment above.

The Russian fans’ choice of the Official Mascot was a culmination of the largest public participation for a mascot creation in FIFA World Cup history. The election campaign engaged with specific target audiences in the host country where children were invited to submit their preferences in terms of character and personal attributes, before artistic talent from design schools and universities worked on a shortlist of the most popular characters.

Out of more than 100 submissions, the smart and agile cat designed by Sofia Podlesnykh, the strong and energetic tiger by Valeria Taburenko and the charming and confident wolf by Ekaterina Bocharova made it to the final vote.

“He is fluffy and has really kind eyes,” says Ekaterina about her winning wolf, while Sofia thought her cat was “very cunning and crafty”. “He is planning to go into space and also win football matches,” revealed Valeria about her tiger.