Fifa president Sepp Blatter takes his seat before the 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match between Belgium and Russia at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter takes his seat before the 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match between Belgium and Russia at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.Reuters

As per standard practice, FIFA president Joseph Blatter handed over a signed certificate to Russian President Vladimir Putin, to officially pass on the rights of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

The ceremony took place inside the Marcana, prior to the commencement of the decider between Germany and Argentina. Also present at the event was Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

"Brazil is very proud for once again having staged the biggest football celebration in the world. In the last 30 days the world has been connected to Brazil, celebrating goals with a lot of emotion in the 12 host cities and making this the World Cup of World Cups," Rouseff said at the ceremony.

"I am sure that everyone who came to Brazil, like tourists and delegations, will take back memories of our hospitality and joy, and we Brazilians also have unforgettable memories. I wish the Russian people great success in the organisation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup."

Making good use of the occasion, the Brazilian President invited the entire world to visit them once more, two years from now as they play host to the Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2016.

Meanwhile, Blatter was all praise for the current hosts.

"FIFA's World Cup in Brazil had a very special message to give - a message of togetherness and of connecting people, a message of peace and of anti-discrimination.

"We have enjoyed a successful World Cup and we will have a legacy in this country. At the same time there is a responsibility for the next host country and I'm confident that Russia will take on this responsibility and also give us a wonderful World Cup to remember in 2018."

Russia have their work cut out as it will be quite a challenge for them to match up to the spectacle of an event that Brazil put up.

"I want to congratulate President Rousseff on how the World Cup was organized. We will do all we can to organize the event on the highest level," Putin stressed.

With an estimated investment of US$19.5 billion, Russia plans to involve 12 of their major cities to play host to the 2018 World Cup - Kaliningrad, Kazan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Volgograd and Yekaterinburg with the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow sketched out to host the three main matches: opener, semifinal and final.

The two main stadiums in Moscow are said to be getting a rather improvident facelift, with the Luzhniki being rebuilt on the inside. They plan to have all stadiums ready by 2017, i.e. a year in advance of the World Cup.

Russia have also decided to ease out on some of the visa regimes of the country.

"Russia plans to take the FIFA World Cup a step further in some areas. For example, we passed a federal law, establishing a special visa regime for foreigners who will help to organize the 2018 championship, and enabling not only the official participants, such as the athletes, referees, coaches, and others, but also the fans to visit Russia without visas before and during the competition," Putin pointed out.