SOCHI, November 30. /TASS/. Former midfielders from the Russian and Brazilian national football teams, Valery Karpin and Julio Baptista respectively, on Wednesday were the first to test the turf of Sochi’s Fisht Arena, after the facility was reconstructed for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Baptista, the winner of the 2005 and 2009 FIFA Confederations Cups, is currently on a visit to Russia, where he arrived to take part in the ceremony of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Draw, held last Saturday in Kazan.
During Sunday’s interview on the Russian sports channel, Match-TV, both footballers made a bet on who could pull off the best penalty shots and agreed to find out on Wednesday in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
“The main idea was to show him a beautiful stadium,” Karpin told journalists. “To show him that here in Russia we have good stadiums and fine weather, unlike Kazan’s below-zero temperatures.”
Both players had to strike a penalty hitting a small plate hanging from one of the upper corners of the goal at Fisht Stadium. After a series of attempts, Karpin was the first to hit the target.
“I was kicking the ball like a retired veteran and he was doing it like an active player, so I think I won the bet,” Karpin, 47, said.
“I am not disappointed because it was a bet for fun,” said Baptista, who is currently playing for the MLS, Orlando City SC.
The Fisht Arena, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, was reconstructed into football stadium to become one of the venues for hosting matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Otkritie-Arena in Moscow, Zenit-Arena in St. Petersburg, Fisht in Sochi and Kazan-Arena in Kazan.