MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with football stars Diego Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and other renowned footballers ahead of the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
After the talk, Putin and his interlocutors headed for the Hall of the State Kremlin Palace for the Final Draw ceremony.
Retired English footballer Gary Lineker and journalist Maria Komandnaya became the ceremony’s hosts. Lineker was assisted by First Vice-President of the Russian Football Union Nikita Simonyan and World Cup champions from various periods Argentina’s Diego Maradona, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro, France’s Laurent Blanc, England’s Gordon Banks, Brazil’s Cafu, Spain’s Carles Poyol, Germany’s Miroslav Klose and 2010 FIFA World Cup medalist Diego Forlan from Uruguay.
The ceremony’s guests included the chief coaches of 30 national teams that had qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, except for Uruguayan football manager Oscar Tabarez and the representative of Australia where the post of the head coach has been vacant after the resignation of Ange Postecoglou.
The ceremony’s musical part was hosted by popular Russian TV anchor Ivan Urgant.
The Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will determine opponents in eight different groups made of 32 national teams, which qualified for the global quadrennial football championship.
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.