- FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ kicks off on 7 June next year
- France 2019 host cities mark one-year countdown
- Official Mascot gets taste of the future with Russia visit
There is just one week to go before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ gets underway and fans across the globe – including the FIFA President – are eagerly awaiting the big kick-off. However, Gianni Infantino is also looking ahead to another major event that is looming large on the horizon: the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™.
The women's global extravaganza will get up and running in exactly one year's time, when Les Bleues will contest the opening match at the Parc des Princes in Paris. A series of events were held in the host cities to mark the one-year countdown to the tournament. Likewise, the competition's Official Mascot, ettie™, paid a visit to Russia for a sneak peek at what is in store for her this time next year.
The nine cities that will be staging fixtures during France 2019 celebrated the one-year-to-go mark by unveiling unique murals specially created by street artists to reflect each city's distinctive charm. Lyon, which will host the final on 7 July 2019, got the ball rolling by showcasing the latest addition to the local art scene in the early morning, with Grenoble, Le Havre, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes respectively following suit over the course of the day. In a sign of things to come at the host stadiums next year, each of these events drew large and enthusiastic crowds.
ettie™, the Official Mascot for France 2019, followed the action from afar through FIFA's digital channels, which served up minute-by-minute coverage of these special proceedings. However, she, too, celebrated the start of the countdown to 'her' tournament in style: she was away in Russia meeting her counterpart from the men's World Cup, Zabivaka™!
The two mascots had a fun time, enjoying a spot of sightseeing and a photo session together, as well as interacting with supporters. Making the most of the occasion, the Russian wolf also took time out to share his experiences of recent months, offer some advice and answer questions from the French poussin, who will increasingly take centre stage on planet football over the coming 12 months.
Another highlight of her Russian sojourn came when former Brazilian international Gilberto Silva, a FIFA Legend, presented ettie™ with her very own Panini sticker album.
All in all, it was an action-packed day both for ettie™ and for all those involved in the preparations for the eighth edition of the Women's World Cup. And this was just an appetiser: the best is still to come next year, so sit tight!