Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov was on his way back to Earth on Sunday along with an official match football that could be used later this month in the opening game of the World Cup in Moscow.
Shkaplerov, Scott Tingle of the United States and Norishige Kanai of Japan undocked from the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-07 capsule and began making their descent at 0916 GMT according to the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
They are set to land in Kazakhstan around 1240 GMT after having spent 168 days in space.
Roscosmos posted on Thursday a video of Shkaplerov and fellow cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev practicing in the ISS with an Adidas Telstar 18 football.
Russian news agency TASS reported that the ball is planned to be used during the opening game of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Moscow on June 14, although Fifa has not confirmed that information.
Shkaplerov, Tingle and Kanai spent more than five months in space working on a variety of scientific experiments.
First-time flyer Tingle also completed a spacewalk to replace the hand on the station’s robotic arm.