MX23RW : Friday, August 17 13:13:40

Vladimir Putin: 'World Cup will be vibrant, unforgettable'

Putin: 'World Cup will be unforgettable'
© Reuters
Russian president Vladimir Putin promises that the country will host an "unforgettable" and "vibrant" World Cup ahead of the first match on Thursday afternoon.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has promised that the country will host an "unforgettable" and "vibrant" World Cup ahead of the first match on Thursday afternoon.

Russia and Saudi Arabia kick off the tournament as the two Group A sides look to start their campaigns on the front foot.

Speaking at FIFA's annual gathering before the World Cup, Putin praised football's governing body for being "one big team" that helped Russia prepare for the "most significant event in global sport".

"Russia is ready to welcome players, fans and viewers at home to an unforgettable and vibrant tournament - the creme de la creme of football," the president added.

Russia are expected to field star forward Alan Dzagoev in Thursday's opener, while Saudi Arabia's veteran centre-back Osama Hawsawi is also likely to play.

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The Russian team poses ahead of their international friendly with Turkey in June 2018
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