A wolf, a cat or a tiger? Russians to vote on World Cup mascot

    Story highlights

    • Fans to vote on 2018 World Cup mascot
    • Finalists feature cat, tiger and wolf
    • Unveiling will be aired live on October 21

    (CNN)With all the headlines surrounding the ongoing FIFA scandal, it's easy to forget that in less than two years Russia will play host to its first World Cup Finals.

    But as of this week, Russia 2018 organizers are reminding the world of exactly that, beginning with a cute marketing campaign designed to anoint the tournament's mascot.
      As part of a televised event on October 21, Russians will choose which of three finalists -- a crafty cat, a space-traveling tiger, or a goggle-wearing wolf -- will bear the honor of being its World Cup 2018 mascot.
      The competition began last year, when Russian design students submitted their entries based on 10 character descriptions formulated by an open survey. The tiger, cat and wolf were shortlisted by a jury panel, before allowing the public to vote online.
      The colorful trio were unveiled as one of the highlights of the annual Circle of Light Moscow International Festival this week, with online polls opening up shortly afterward.
      Although the World Cup Finals date back Uruguay in 1930, mascots were not introduced until a lion known as "World Cup Willie" became the face of the England 1966 tournament.
      Since then, the 12 other World Cup mascots have included everything from an orange (Spain 1982), to a jalapeño pepper (Mexico 1986), to a three-banded armadillo (Brazil 2014).