For former Whanganui footballer Dan Benson, the Fifa World Cup starting tomorrow marks the start of a four month journey home.

It will bookend Benson's four-year OE in London with world cups having set out via the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

The 33-year-old said he had been ready to leave the UK for over a year "but I've wanted to stick it out so I can go to Russia".

"I'm very excited, I love my football so it's kind of the end of a four year cycle for me with Brazil, Euro 2016 and now this for the World Cup."


"The Qatar World Cup [2022] is not overly attractive to me so that will be it for a while for me."

Benson has been managing a gym in Hackney while taking the opportunity to see as much football as he can, including eight games at Euro 2016.

"Got caught up in the riots in Marseille actually so that was a lesson. It was good story now that I'm fine but it was a bit scary for a minute. We got properly in the middle of all the tear gas and stuff."

He's seen Champions League football involving power clubs Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax.

"As many as I can but I'm a Liverpool fan so I've been to Anfield five times."

Benson heads to Moscow this weekend for four games in five days starting with Argentina vs Iceland and then to St Petersburg for two.

"Bit of a whirlwind but looking forward to it."

He has tickets to see some big teams including Argentina twice, Germany, Portugal and Brazil.

"We're actually quite lucky with the draw. Pretty decent games."

Dan Benson (centre) says the World Cup in Russia will be a much different event than four years ago.
Dan Benson (centre) says the World Cup in Russia will be a much different event than four years ago.

Benson said he didn't know what to expect from Russia.

"It's going to be different. I spent a month or 35 days in Brazil with two of my best mates and it was a big party," he said.

"In Brazil everyone was really happy that the tourists were there. I don't know what it's going to be like in Russia, whether it's going to be quite so welcoming.

"It was pretty much only a party in Brazil. Obviously in Brazil you could drink in the stadium but you can't in Russia so that will change the dynamic a little bit.

"I'm going as a tourist as much a football fan this time."

Benson is a former Wanganui City and United player who will return to the city in November for Christmas but then plans to move to Melbourne with his girlfriend.

Like the Chronicle did in 2014 we will follow his World Cup journey over the coming weeks.