by David Fleenor – Panini soccer cards have put a smile on the faces of collectors while at the same time frustrating them to no end as they desperately search for the final couple of cards since they were first introduced for the 1970 World Cup.

The craze is going mainstream this year with the likes of NBA great Kobe Bryant getting in on the game. But what is it all about and what does it take to complete your own 2014 World Cup Panini Book?

2014 FIFA World Cup Panini Sticker Album

365.worldsoccershop decide to find out what all the craziness was about, hopefully in the process determine what it cost to complete a book, get a feel for what the rare cards are, and help out others in desperate need to complete their book.

Ideally when all is said and done, Soccer365 will have a complete 2014 World Cup Panini Book to give away before the first ball is kicked in Brazil this summer. (Stay tuned to Soccer365 to found out how you can get involved with the S365 Panini Challenge).

Like any collection, getting started is the easy part! Buy a book that includes your first fix of 10 stickers ($1.99) and start buying stickers. Stickers come in packs of 7 stickers each for $0.99 or you can buy a 50-pack box (350 stickers) for $49.99. This seems odd…why does buying in bulk, the 50-pack box ($49.99), cost more than buying individual 7-sticker packs (50 @ $0.99 is $49.50)?

Not to worry. We are off and this should be easy. All 10 stickers that came with the book are in place and after the initial couple of 7-packs no ‘dups’ (duplicates).

But what have we gotten into? The U.S. Panini book requires 642 stickers to complete.

This is broken down to include: 544 player stickers (32 teams with 17 players per team), 32 team logo stickers, 32 team stickers, 7 FIFA World Cup stickers, 24 stadium stickers (each stadium is built with 2 stickers), and 3 sponsor stickers.

The total is 643 if you want to send more $’s to Panini and have them make you a personal sticker with your game face for the book. Your book will be complete so you got to have this final #643!

Wow, to fill the $1.99 book, 92 packs will be needed at a cost of $91.08. A cool book and less than $100, we’ll take it! But this is before we start factoring in duplicates. Uh Oh. This is going to be expensive.

2014 FIFA World Cup Panini 50 Sticker Pack Box

But before you pull all of your hair out (there is plenty of time for that later in the process), remember that part of the collecting gig is the community and trading to find rare cards and complete your collection. Panini is no different with a community looking to #gotgotneed to fill out books.

The 2014 World Cup Panini book is ordered along with a 50-pack box of cards. The quiet before the storm.

Are you collecting Panini? Have you completed a book? What/who is your favorite card? What are the hard to find cards? Whose face are you sick of seeing? Are we crazy to even be starting this challenge? Talk about your Panini collection on the World Soccer Shop’s facebook page