Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you will know that the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia today (14th June). The biggest competition in world football brings together 32 nations who have battled their way through qualifications for the chance to lift the illustrious FIFA World Cup Trophy.
In honour of the tournament, we have selected 32 cigars and paired them with an international team. The connection might be colour, historical, crest or person relating to the country, but for every one of these cigars bought during the duration of the tournament, the customer will be added into a prize draw, with one lucky customer walking away with a fantastic prize.
Whichever cigar you choose is entirely your choice. Will you be backing your home nation, or is there a certain cigar that you fancy trying? The tournament will be drawing to an end on the 15th July with the winner of our competition announced the following day on the 16th July.
But who will emerge victorious from the tournament itself? We’ve looked at the 5 favourites below, along with some information regarding the cigar we’ve paired with their country:
Key Player: Neymar
The red-hot favourites to lift the trophy are Brazil, who will be hoping to raise it for a record sixth time, and it’s hardly surprising that they are when you look at their squad. The combination of youth and experience strolled through the South American qualifiers, winning 12 of their 18 games and only losing one.
Hoping to lead his country to victory will be the talismanic, and world’s most expensive footballer, Neymar. His goal scoring return for his country is simply unbelievable, and he currently sits as his country’s joint-third highest goal scorer of all time; which is even more impressive when you think that he’s only 26-years-old. Will he and his teammates be able to shrug off the disappointment of 2014 when the tournament was held in their native country, but they finished a disappointing fourth? Only time will tell…
Selected Cigar: Davidoff Escurio Robusto Cigar
To suit the twists and turns of the Brazilians when they’re on the ball, we’ve picked the Davidoff Escurio Robusto Cigar which is known for its ever-changing flavour profile. Each Escurio cigar mixes together the Cubra leaves with the dark Brazilian Mata Fina leaf, coupled together with Dominican filler tobaccos, neatly wrapped up in a Habano Seed Ecuadorian wrapper. Beautifully balanced, wickedly complex and a joy from start to finish, the Brazilian football team will be hoping they can mirror this sublime cigar.
Key Player: Thomas Müller
Hot on the heels of Brazil are defending champions Germany, who will be hoping to repeat their success of four years ago. Such is the depth of the German squad, players such as Leroy Sané and Mario Götze – who would walk into 90% of the other team’s starting XI – didn’t even make it on the plane to Russia.
Hoping to fire his team to victory is Thomas Müller, who is almost guaranteed to provide goals for his country. But not only this, he will be looking to break fellow countryman and former teammate Miroslav Klose’s all-time World Cup goal tally. Klose sits atop the pile with 16 goals, with Müller currently on 10. Will he beat the tally in Russia?
Selected Cigar: Davidoff 2000 Cigar – Signature Range
Davidoff 2000 Cigar – Signature Range is a little smaller than the classic corona but has a much bolder taste thanks to the higher percentage of Piloto tobaccos. The smoothness of this cigar is mirrored by that of the German counter-attack, and the mild finish is just divine. The slightly smaller ring gauge than the original also helps to contribute to a more exquisite experience; simply a must for lovers of a smooth smoke.
Key Player: David de Gea
Spain was victorious in the 2010 World Cup final, which presented them their first ever World Cup title. They followed this up two years later with a UEFA Euro 2012 title victory, which saw them become practically untouchable in a golden age of football.
But since then, things haven’t exactly been plain sailing. They were ejected from the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Euros much earlier than anticipated, leading to many thinking their ageing squad was beyond their best. But an injection of new blood has seen them come into the 2018 World Cup in frightening form, helped by the brick-wall that is goalkeeper David de Gea. One of the hottest properties currently in world football, de Gea kept six clean sheets in nine appearances to help his country head to Russia.
But with Spain sacking their head coach on the eve of the World Cup kick-off, will they be able to lift the trophy come July or have they put the final nail in their own coffin?
Selected Cigar: La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull Cigar
For the former number one country in world football, it is only right that the former Cigar of the Year emblazoned with the matador is chosen to represent Spain. The combination of Corojo-seed Ecuador Habano wrapper on a blend that consists primarily of Dominican Criollo ’98 tobacco and a touch of Pelo d’Oro, the cigar is as bold in flavour as it is appearance. Much as with the Spanish football team, things just get better as time goes on, and you will not be disappointed with the tangy, spicy finish.
Key Player: Antoine Griezmann
France comes into the tournament as a bit more of an outside bet, but with a wealth of young, hungry talent in the ranks, they are not going to be a pushover. Having won the World Cup once in 1998 – with current manager Didier Deschamps leading his team to victory on home soil – they will be keen to add to their success.
A big part of that success will be the performance of Antoine Griezmann. The forward was top scorer and player of the tournament at UEFA EURO 2016, so will be looking to put his stamp on yet another tournament. But as his club future is currently the centre of attention – with the player himself saying he has made a decision as to whether he stays with Atlético Madrid or leaves but won’t announce it until after the tournament – will there be one too many spotlights on the 27-year-old?
Selected Cigar: Quai D’Orsay No.50 Cigar
Speaking of spotlights, Quai d’Orsay is currently finding themselves basking in its glow once more. The company was established in 1973 and originally aimed at the French market and named after an avenue in Paris that was once home to SEITA, the former French tobacco company. The cigar itself has spikes of pure joy followed by downtime of smooth, delicate flavours of cream and nuts that will be sure to tantalise the palate.
Key Player: Harry Kane
We couldn’t write our list without including our very own England, although their chances of getting their hands on the World Cup for the second time in its history look slim. But despite their slim chances, Gareth Southgate’s underdogs will be hoping to get the three lions roaring once again.
Hoping to be at the forefront of this will be the prolific Harry Kane, who was named as England captain for the tournament. The 24-year-old has been in superb form ever since he debuted in the Premier League, having scored an impressive 108 goals in 153 appearances. Kane has been the subject of interest from the biggest clubs in the world, but recently put pen-to-paper on a new six-year contract which should keep him at Tottenham Hotspur for the foreseeable future. Will that future include lifting the trophy aloft?
Selected Cigar: Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour Robusto Cigar
We’re hoping the embodiment of Winston Churchill can rally the troops to victory at the World Cup this year, which is why we’ve selected a cigar named after the great man. Thanks to a unique blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos aged in the finest single malt whisky casks, the Late Hour results in a full-strength smoke that (we hope!) will be replicated on the pitch with gutsy performances from our boys. Will football be coming home come the 15th July or will it be yet another year of hurt?
Argentina – Davidoff Puro D’Oro Deliciosos Cigar – D’Oro is Spanish for gold, and that is exactly what Argentina will be hoping for. Can Messi inspire his team and lift the trophy has eluded him for so many years?
Egypt – Caldwell Long Live the King Belicoso Cigar – in honour of Mo Salah, the Egyptian King himself!
Uruguay – La Flor Dominicana La Nox Cigar – Packing more bite than Luis Suarez, the Sol De Mayo is the national emblem of Uruguay, and the Nox is the night, with each following the other.
Who are you backing to take home the ultimate prize, and more importantly, which cigar is going to be your choice? Let us know in the comments section or on our social media channels!