The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy made the 74th stop of its biggest-ever global tour on Wednesday 31 March, touching down in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. The first port of call for the trophy was a press conference held in Belgrade Airport where the General Manager of Coca-Cola Hellenic Serbia, Sotiris Yannopoulos and the Regional Marketing Manager of Coca-Cola, Natasa Djurdjevic unveiled the FIFA World Cup Trophy to widespread applause. “This is the country of champions and we cannot wait for the FIFA World Cup,” said an excited Yannopoulos.
Over the next two days more than 12,000 football fans descended on the Expo Centre in Belgrade to savour the excitement of a close-up view of the FIFA World Cup Trophy. The impressive venue also offered fans the full experience, with interactive football games, penalty shoot-outs, dancing and of course, the celebration area all providing excellent entertainment. Fans then got the chance to watch a specially-created 3D movie, focusing on the aspect of celebration as well as showcasing the greatest moments from the history of the FIFA World Cup.
The Serbian Minister for Youth and Sport Snezana Samardzic Markovic took the opportunity to have a photo taken with world football’s most iconic prize and sent a message to Serbia’s national team ahead of the FIFA World Cup. “This is a symbolic way to say goodbye to our team before they leave for South Africa,” she said. “We hope that they too will have their picture taken with the trophy in July.”
On Saturday 3 April, the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola moved on for a whistle-stop visit of Belfast, where a special event was hosted in Templepatrick, County Antrim. A total of 200 lucky competition winners had the opportunity to have their photo taken with the Trophy and meet all-time great Pat Jennings, Northern Ireland’s goalkeeper in the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups.
Three hours later the trophy was on the move again, winging its way to Dublin, where 1982 FIFA World Cup winner and Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli was welcomed on board to receive the trophy. “It’s heavier than I remember,” joked Tardelli as he carried the trophy off the aeroplane!
Easter Sunday in Ireland is usually a quiet day, however Mansion House on Dawson Street was alive and kicking, hosting the FIFA World Cup and a great event which enabled over 5,000 people to have their photo taken with the Trophy. Footballing greats Paul McGrath, John Aldridge and Ray Houghton were all on-site to welcome fans, creating fond memories of past glories for football fans in the Republic.