MOSCOW, July 7. /TASS/. World’s top-model and well-known philanthropist from Russia Natalia Vodianova and Russia’s TV presenter Dmitry Shepelev will run this month the show of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Draw, FIFA said in its statement on Tuesday.
The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition, which is the first major kick-off event ahead of the global tournament itself, will be held on July 25 in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg with a total of 208 nations having signed up for the participation in the event.
"The show of the Preliminary Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ will be presented by supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova and TV presenter Dmitry Shepelev," the statement said. "The pair will guide the global audience in more than 100 countries and territories through a program introducing football fans to Russia’s rich culture."
Commenting on the privilege to present the show of the 2018 Preliminary Draw, the world's most prominent supermodel for the last 15 years said she was "very glad that the World Cup is finally coming to Russia."
"I am sure that on 25 July many football fans all over the world will be inspired not only to support their teams on the road to 2018, but will also enjoy learning more about my country," Vodianova was quoted as saying on the FIFA official website.
Vodianova was part of the Russian delegation presenting the country’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup. The 33-year-old top model is also known to establish ten years ago her own charitable organization, which supports families raising children with special needs in Russia.
The 32-year-old presenter from Russia’s state-run Channel One, Shepelev, said playing such role in the world’s most prestigious football championship was "beyond any dream" since his childhood.
"I remember as kids we used to kick a ball about outside pretending to be legends like Roberto Baggio, Romario, Zinedine Zidane and other World Cup heroes," Shepelev was quoted as saying. "I’d fantasize about scoring a goal in front of a sea of adoring fans."
"Later, I began to dream about attending a World Cup as a supporter. But presenting the draw show? That is beyond any dream I’ve ever had," he said.
"I am positive that the show the Local Organizing Committee and Channel One Russia have in store for us will delight guests and draw participants," Shepelev said. "As for me, I promise to work as hard as a striker trying to score in the World Cup Final."
It will be for the first time in the history of World Cups, when all national teams registered for the Preliminary Draw. Russia as the hosting nation automatically qualified for the championship and therefore is not taking part in the preliminary competition.
The first major kick-start event of the 2018 World Cup will be held at the historic Konstantinovsky Palace, a stronghold of Russia’s rich culture located on the Gulf of Finland’s stunning shoreline. It used to serve in the 18th century as one of the residences of Russia’s imperial family.
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over four 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.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.