The World Cup draw in Moscow is upon us but what can we expect from Russia next summer as the host nation prepare to stage one of the world's biggest sporting events.
Everything is falling into place, with each of the host cities readying themselves for a huge summer of football, with visitors from around the globe.
But how are the hosts themselves shaping up? From stadiums and security to celebrities and climate, Sportsmail's IAN HERBERT takes a look...
The new Spartak Stadium has its own dedicated Metro station and a huge 82ft bronze statue
In a word: spectacular. No-one will tell us the overall sum Russia is pouring into the tournament but £20bn has been suggested to Sportsmail. Moscow's new Spartak arena is dazzling red, with its own dedicated Metro station and 82ft bronze statue of Spartacus towering over the gates.
The £615m St Petersburg Arena has been mocked on Twitter because of cost overruns but it is monumentally impressive. The Luzhniki Stadium has been overhauled to withstand the ravages of the Russian winters once it has staged next summer's final.
President Vladimir Putin ropes in his personal friends in industry to undertake national infrastructure projects in return for lucrative government contracts down the line. So corners are not cut.
The Volgograd and Nizhniy Novgorod stadiums have been assigned to the Stroytransgaz corporation, the oil and gas industry specialist headed by his friend Gennady Timchenko.
White and red is the colour scheme outside the ground, which will host four group matches
Russian police will be firm but fairer than you might expect. They're sophisticated practitioners of 'intelligence-led' policing, in which troublemakers are identified by 'spotters' working within crowds.
Putin's determination that Russia will put on a good show means that thugs are being threatened with jail and are expected to lie low. But Britain's top football police officer, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, has told Sportsmail he has concerns some England fans will continue to indulge in offensive nationalistic chanting which will be viewed by Russians as laying down 'a challenge.'
Roberts, head of the Football Policing Unit, has told us this is 'indicative of an imperialistic mindset.' He urged fans to consider that their chants may offend other nationalities.
Security is expected to be firm but fair, with plenty of 'intelligence-led policing' at tournament
These will be easy for those with tickets. The key to getting to World Cup matches is the 'Fan-ID', which you must get before travelling to Russia. This photographic pass allows holders to get match tickets and secure a free Russian visa.
Other benefits include free bus, Metro and train travel in and between host cities. Apply for one as soon as you have an official ticket. Supporters without one won't be able to get into matches. That means countries which are traditionally followed by large groups of ticketless fans – like England - should have fewer fans in tow.
Fan-IDs are compulsory for travelling fans, otherwise you won't be able to get into matches
One journey on the impressive Moscow Metro costs you 50 roubles (62p), so avoid roads in the capital. These tend to be dug up every summer and were a disaster zone during last summer's Confederations Cup. The Russians promise less upheaval next summer but it was bad enough to convince Gareth Southgate not to locate England's own base in the capital.
Kazan, Sochi and St Petersburg are far more navigable and Uber operates well, with Kazan lacking any Metro. Beware Cyrillic language on Metro signage – even in cosmopolitan Moscow – which makes the stations a mystery.
There have been reports from Russia in the past month that extra flights will be laid on between cities. The Russian train system is generally effective and punctual. The four-hour express train from St Petersburg to Moscow has