The cold snap that has gripped Central and Eastern Europe might well have seen us all dreaming of sunnier weather – so now is the perfect time to look ahead to the World Cup in the Autumn.
The beautiful, historic town of Rethymno in Crete was announced late last year as the venue for the second Socca World Cup and a more striking location would be hard to find.
As the Crete Tourist Board puts it: “Rethymno combines rarely united features: the old town’s charm and history, with proximity to a long sandy beach”, while Lonely Planet offers this poetic description: “Rethymno is a wild beauty. Endless ribbons of mountain roads wind through the timeless interior, passing fields of wildflowers and tiny, traditional hamlets cradled by olive groves.”
In 2019, the world cup will embrace all of this. The stadium will be purpose built on the beach front, just yards away from the lively restaurants and bars across the road.
The town – which has a population of just 55,000 and is a mix of the modern and the ancient – has played host to other football events, and the crack team of organisers will ensure this is the biggest and best yet.
As they turn one of the best beaches in Crete in to one of the finest Socca Stadiums in the world
The week long tournament will again see 32 teams battle it out for the right to follow Germany as the first 6 a side World Cup Champions. The eyes of the world will be in Rethmyno, with matches being beamed around the globe again as viewing figures look set to eclipse the millions that were glued to the action last year from Lisbon.
The hundreds of players and support staff will not be stuck for ways to fill their free time, with Trip Advisor suggesting a range of activities with everything from exploring the Old Town, to visiting the Monastery of Arkadi or The Venetian Fortezza if you get feel like a break from relaxing in the autumn sunshine.
So parts of Greece may resemble an Ice Sculpture at the moment, as this picture shows, but later in the year a small, beautiful corner of Crete will be buzzing in the way that only 6 a side football can make happen.
The Socca World Cup will be here sooner than you think.