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album: Women’s World Cup 2023 (Panini)

stickers: 580 (1-580)

starter pack: album + 5 packets 4,90€

box: 36 packets (5 stickers per packet) 1,00€ each

Game over. This album comes out, in Italy, at the World Cup that has already begun and above all at the end of July when by now people are thinking of something else and above all the children, who could be among the potential interested parties, rightly spend (we hope it for them) the days at the beach, in the mountains or even just playing ball in the garden near the house.

We believe that Panini Italia should have greater respect for its immense people who follow the collections with passion and dedication. In our opinion, this all-Italian delay is linked only to the purpose of having the album “Azzurri” on the newsstands alone for two months, which will probably be remembered as one of the most useless albums in history. Not so much for the contents, a small thing but in times of lean we have seen even worse, but by postponing the album of the women’s world championship by two months. Perhaps this point should be emphasized: “the album of the women’s soccer world cup”, that is the most important event possible and imaginable with, among other things, Italy present.

Some will say that at least it has arrived on newsstands, after Panini’s even more incredible choice not to distribute the European female album on newsstands in 2022. Extremely appreciable (albeit with biblical deliveries) to have added the women’s Serie A album connected to Calciatori, but if Panini believes that women’s football is not to be taken into consideration, then leave this burden to others. A fact that won’t happen on the one hand, because the other European Panini (Germany, England, France, etc.) take better care of it, on the other we are waiting to see what Topps will do, which will be the publisher to publish the album of the European female 2025. Hoping it will do it well, perhaps avoiding the rather scarce sticker album linked to F1 in pocket format. With a publisher aiming to kill classic stickers for the benefit of cards, the risk is always high. We will see.

World and European albums aren’t products of great change, many don’t want them, including us, they should keep all the charm of tradition. Every four years it is somehow a pleasure to leaf through the pages totally dedicated to the national teams involved, with possible variants dedicated only to stadiums and posters, stickers which unfortunately disappear more and more often but irreparably due to the ever-increasing number of national teams participating. In the future we will get to the point that, necessarily, there will be fewer players in stickers. Men’s football could even go as far as a double album, an extreme idea that, at first glance, could also be interesting.

Each national team is present with 16 players and their crest. If we think about the discourse of tradition, which we appreciate, the format of the stickers is the right one. Honestly we don’t understand the logic with which the colors of the backgrounds are chosen, since they have no reference to the flags. For example, the blues have orange references, but it is clearly not Holland. If the choice is random, paradoxically the final result is also pleasant.

Central pages that take up the title of the “Beyond greatness” collection, a motif that we also find on the individual pages of the national teams complete with a QR code for inserting extras. 32 special stickers with the top players of the world championship, seen in action.

In general and this should make you think, the album is much better, despite its necessary simplicity, than the World Cup Qatar 2022 edition. The graphics of the stickers are better, the quality of the album paper as well, the stickers are equally ultra-light but still less embarrassing. The women of football have won against the most popular boys.

Albums to collect? Absolutely yes, how can you give up? But we would like more consideration from the publisher. Not only in the times, absolutely unspeakable, but also in the formula. If we have to explain the increasingly high price of sachets, it is unacceptable that for such an impressive collection (580 stickers) you arrive at newsstands with boxes of only 36 sachets, when abroad the boxes are at least 50 sachets. In another era, someone in Modena said that collections always complement each other, maybe it’s the same now, but at what price?

We also return to the sender any reasoning that the product does not sell in Italy. If it is not put in a position to be an attractive product, how can it become an important collection in Italy? Panini also does the private sellers a favor, going against our own principles of supporting retail shops and newsstands, as so many have done, instead of buying the sachets we turned to the unofficial market to get the full set. Do we like it as a solution? Absolutely not, but if this happened, it is Panini’s fault alone.


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