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ITU (Brazil), June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian football team gathered for its first practice following their Sunday match against Belgium (0-1) at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where the much anticipated global tournament kicked off on June 12.
The Russian squad, which missed out of the two previous global football tournaments in 2010 and 2006, is facing Algeria in its final Group H game on Thursday and needs only victory to stand chances of advancing to the round of Last 16.
However, if Russia’s group rival South Korea defeats Belgium in another match on Thursday with a considerable gap in scored goals, the Russian team will pack back home.
Being rumored to be the highest paid national coach in the world, Italian phenomenon Fabio Capello managed to help the Russian national team to qualify for the current World Cup in Brazil.
On the eve of the Russian team’s match against South Korea, the Russian state-run pollster WCIOM provided data showing that 25% of Russians believed that the country’s national football team would battle through to the final match of the 2014 World Cup. Seven percent said the team would fail to clear the group stage.
The current World Championship in Brazil is also of a particular interest for Russia since it was chosen for the first time ever to host the next World Cup in 2018.
The country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over three years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
Following an official ceremony held in September 2012 and attended by FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, Russia eventually selected 11 out of the earlier proposed 13 cities, excluding Krasnodar and Yaroslavl. The final list of the 2018 World Cup host cities includes Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend on July 13 the final match of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where he will receive the baton of the hosting nations for the next global football championship in 2018.
Sepp Blatter, the president of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), earlier stated that he was waiting for President Putin in Brazil to pass him over the baton of the World Cup’s nation and that he also intended to pay a visit to Russia in September to monitor the preparation work for the next championship.