The World Cup draw is important on so many levels.
Every team’s first game sets the tone for the rest of the group stage, and possible opponents could give fans hope or fear for whether the team will make it to the knockout stage.
But for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the draw was important from a travel perspective as well.
According to the blog Kalingrad Guide, Colombia won the “shortest travel” sweepstakes. By being placed in H3, Colombia and its fans will only have 472 miles to travel within the group stage, from Saransk to Kazan to Samara.
At the other end is Sweden, which will have around 2,896 miles to travel between host cities. Sweden starts in central Russia in Nizhny Novogrod before traveling to the southern-most host city Sochi, before a trip to the eastern-most host city, Yekaterinburg.
That doesn’t take into account either the travel for teams between their game sites and their home base. For example, England will have to travel more than 500 miles each way for all three of its group stage matches from its home base to the game.
For what it’s worth, Germany in 2014 had one of the longest travel schedules throughout Brazil, and they still managed to win the whole thing. We’ll see what happens this time around.