World Cup 2018: Russian President Vladimir Putin To Attend Tournament Final
Vladimir Putin plans to attend only the final match of the 2018 FIFA World cup.
Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to attend only the final match of the 2018 FIFA World cup, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, noting that the head of state rooted for the Russian team. "The fact that the president did not attend the matches (of the Russian team) does not mean that (he didn't cheer for the Russian football players) he did root for our team," Peskov said in a conversation with reporters, reports Tass news agency. The Kremlin spokesman reiterated that "the president kept in contact with (chief coach of the team Stanislav) Cherchesov. (Putin) cheered (for the team) and was aware of all current events," the spokesman stressed.
Peskov explained that "initially, the president's schedule contained no attendance of any games save the opening and closing matches." "We expect the president to attend the closing match," he said.
The Russian team left the tournament, having lost to Croatia via penalty shootout in the World Cup quarter-final on July 7. The World Cup final match will take place on July 15 in Moscow.
Meanwhile, Belgium, with an aim to book a berth in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2018, face old rivals France in a mouth-watering semi-final clash at St. Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday. Belgium have scored 14 goals in five matches so far in the mega event and are in the last four for just the second time in their history, after claiming their biggest-ever World Cup scalp by beating Brazil 2-1 in the quarter-finals. On the other hand, France booked their semi-final clash against Belgium after eliminating Uruguay with a 2-0 triumph.
The two teams have met 73 times with Belgium winning 30 and France 24, while 19 matches resulted in draws.
This will be the first World Cup meeting between France and Belgium since the 1986 World Cup. France had won the match 4-2.
(With IANS inputs)