by David FleenorSoccer fans are going crazy for Panini and Soccer365 is among the throngs collecting stickers despite our advanced age and better judgment. The challenge, to buy stickers until we fill a book, starts with the arrival of our first 2014 FIFA World Cup Panini 50 Sticker Pack Box (hopefully this will not be 1 of many)!

The first box brings with it the immediate addiction to thumbing through 7-card packets and giving a quick smile for finding your favorite players. This is awesome!

But what did we really learn from Box 1.

1st Card – #550 – Clarence Goodson – A good sign to start off the Panini book with the USA starring back and behind S365 at the kick-off.

1st Team Card – #71 – Mexico – (in 2nd packet) CONCACAF is off to a good start.

1st Logo Card – #222 – Cote d’Ivoire – (in 4th packet) – Ivory Coast or should we say Cote d’Ivorie. One of the best African sides, good pick-up.

1st Duplicate – #60 – Ognjen Vukojevic – (in 8th packet) – The checkerboard jerseys used to be cool but after this dup and many other for Croatia, we may have changed our minds

1st Packet with multiple dups (14th packets) – and it included 3 dups. This is getting hard.

1st Stadia Half – #24 – left half of Pernambuco – (17th packet)

1st World Cup Panini – #googly-eyes (21st packet) – scissors kick

But what really matters is not what a collector chance upon first but how the book starts to fill.

The key numbers for Box #1:

  • 299 stickers were added to the book. Along with the 10 that came with the book we are 48% completed.
  • 0 Teams were completed but we pulled the logo and team stickers for 12 teams (Algeria, Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivorie), Korea Republic, Netherland, Nigeria, and Uruguay).
  • 6 stadia are under construction but none are complete. Requiring 2 stickers for each stadium is genius but makes us wonder if some stadia do not have a full 2 card set, much like the reality on the ground with some venues in risk of not being ready for the summer.
  • 51 stickers were duplicates a mere 14.2%. We can handle that number. Surprisingly (or maybe not), none of the 10 stickers from the book were duplicated.

But nothing will make us happier than never seeing the faces of Ivan Rakitic or Vukojevic again. 4 of BOTH of these players were pulled. Croatia in general was well represented in the opening box with 15 of the 19 roster spots filled from the first book.

It was not just Croatia, France’s Samir Nasri showed up 3 times along with Japan’s Hotaru Yamaguchi.

Cost to date: $51.98.

Are you taking collecting 2014 World Cup Panini stickers? Talk about your progress. Anyone out there with a complete book? What did it take to get all the stickers?