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The World Cup is just over five months away and the excitement is slowly building ahead of the summer showpiece event.

Russia is the destination for 32 teams from across the globe as they vie for the most coveted prize in football the unmistakeable gold trophy that has become a symbol of greatness in the game.

The groups for the 2018 edition are now known and FIFA has already kicked off pre tournament festivities, including the World Cup Trophy Tour, which is taking place for the fourth time.

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With the big kick off not far away, Goal takes a look at the tour and brings you everything you need to know.

What is the World Cup Trophy Tour?The World Cup Trophy Tour is a part of the build up to the tournament which allows fans around the world to see the original trophy up close and take a photograph with it.

Run in association with FIFA’s long term partner Coca Cola, the tour is billed as an “exciting and exclusive experience” for lovers of the game, who would otherwise only be able to see the trophy in Zurich at the World Football Museum.

The concept was first rolled out ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when the trophy visited 29 countries.

It became a bigger attraction as part of the build up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, touching down in 84 countries (including 50 in Africa).

Before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,
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the tour took in its greatest number of countries to date, visiting 90 destinations over 267 days.

The promotional exercise involves World Cup winners and dignitaries from different countries takingthe opportunity to pose with the historic accolade.

What countries and cities will the trophy visit?

As mentioned, the trophy is taken to a number of different countries as FIFA promotes its showpiece event around the world.

The 2018 World Cup Trophy Tour began in September 2017 in Russia, where it stayed for 78 days, visiting 16 cities, before moving on to the international leg of the tour.

London was the launch pad for the international leg, which kicked off on January 22 and the trophy is set to touch down in 91 cities across 51 countries and six continents.

From London, the tour went to Sri Lanka, then the Maldives and then Thailand before moving on to Laos.

South America’s first glimpse of the trophy is set for March 27, when the tour stops in Argentina, where it will stay until April 2 before moving up to Colombia and then further up through North America. The trophy will be in the United States from April 16 until April 20.

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After that,
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the tour is scheduled to stopoff briefly in Germany beforeembarking on a journey back through Asia for the remainder of the month and it will return to Russia in May ahead of the big kick off in June.