MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. Russia has always been a football country and the national team will definitely play well on its home soil at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, England’s former goalkeeper Gordon Banks said on Thursday.
"Russia has always been a football country," Banks, who won the 1966 World Cup playing each match for England, told journalists. "They (Russians) have always been involved in the tournaments. They have been playing good football, beating top teams."
"They will be playing here on the home ground and the crowd behind them looking for the best so I am sure that they will go out and play well," the 79-year-old ex-goalkeeper said commenting on the upcoming World Cup.
Asked if the Russian national team would go far at the World Cup, Banks said "They are going to play the best they can, play as a team and will show their own style," adding that "there is always a chance."
Banks was named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions and in 1972 he was also FWA Footballer of the Year, but Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin is still the best in the world, according to Banks.
"Yashin is the greatest goalkeeper and it is out of the question," he said replying to a journalist’s remark if he was better than the legendary Soviet goalkeeper. "I have seen him play and everything he did was absolutely decent."
Earlier this week Russia unveiled the Official Poster for the 2018 World Cup and world’s legendary Yashin was the central figure on this poster.
Gordon Banks will be one of seven assistants helping at the Final Draw, which will be held at the State Kremlin Palace on Friday. The other six assistants are also the World Cup winners and they are Diego Maradona of Argentina, Fabio Cannavaro of Italy, Laurent Blanc of France, Cafu of Brazil, Carles Puyol of Spain, Diego Forlan of Uruguay and Russia’s Nikita Simonyan. Miroslav Klose of Germany will bring the World Cup trophy.
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.