MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. The official poster of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off next summer in 11 cities across Russia, was unveiled on Tuesday in Moscow during a ceremony attended by high-ranking Russian and FIFA officials.
The official ceremony to unveil the last remaining visual icon of the upcoming global football championship in Russia was held on Tuesday afternoon in the famed Moscow Metro in the presence of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, General Director of the 2018 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Alexei Sorokin, Russian national football team’s goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and others.
The 2018 issue of the Official Poster for the FIFA World Cup was designed by Russia’s renowned artist Igor Gurovich, who chose world’s legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin as a central figure of his poster.
"The Official Poster of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a true reflection of Russia’s artistic and football heritage," FIFA’s statement quoted Fatma Samoura as saying during the ceremony. "We are very proud of this beautiful landmark asset that portrays such an important icon and celebrates the coming tournament on Russian soil."
RFU President Mutko said describing the poster during the ceremony that: "It was very important for us to portray Russia as the Host Country in the Official Poster that’s why Lev Yashin was choosen, a symbol of Russian football, as the main figure."
"I’m sure that the poster will become one of the most memorable symbols of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and that fans and participants alike will approve of it," Mutko added.
The very first print of the unveiled poster, signed by the officials participating in the ceremony, was presented on Tuesday to Russian national football squad’s goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
"This is a big honor for me and I never suspected that the very first poster will be presented to me," Akinfeev said. "Yashin is a great goalkeeper and I would be very glad if I could tail his legacy even by an inch. Yashin will be remembered in 200 and 300 years, eternally."
Lev Yashin (October 22, 1929 - March 20, 1990) was a goalkeeper for Dinamo Moscow FC and the Soviet national team. He is considered as the greatest goalkeeper in history of football and had an iconic status for revolutionizing the game of a goalkeeper. He remains the only goalkeeper in the history of football to win the Ballon d’Or.
Throughout his career he stopped a total of over 150 penalty kicks, by far more than any other goalkeeper in history and has a record of over 270 clean sheets, which means that he never conceded a goal in over 270 matches. He played in three World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1966 and has a record of four clean sheets in an overall of 12 matches in World Cup finals.
He also appeared at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, but in the capacity of the third-choice backup and assistant coach.
He made an unforgettable impression on the world society, when he first appeared at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, which was the first to be broadcast internationally. Always dressed in black from head to toe he earned his international nicknames of the ‘Black Spider’ and ‘Black Panther.’
According to FIFA’s statement, in the poster, Yashin is dressed in his traditional outfit of black shirt and shorts, knee brace and his famous cap. He is shown reaching for the ball, one half of which is a typical football from Yashin’s era, with the other depicting the vast landmass of Russia as seen from space, reflecting a key inspiration of the 2018 FIFA World Cup brand, that of Russia’s achievements in space exploration.
After successfully hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The country 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.