NIZHNY NOVGOROD, April 11. /TASS/. Over 5,000 football fans from Argentina are expected to come to the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, which is one of 11 cities across the country preparing to host matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup this summer, a senior regional official said on Wednesday.
"Last year only 135 people from Argentina visited Nizhny Novgorod…, this year we are expecting over 5,000," Gleb Nikitin, the acting governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, said.
"It is very important for us that Argentinian President Mauricio Macri plans to come here for the match of his national team and we definitely need to do everything possible to make his stay here pleasant and most memorable," Nikitin said.
Nizhny Novgorod will host a total of six matches of the 2018 World Cup, namely four fixtures of the group stage, one of the Last 16 matches and one of the quarterfinal games.
The stadium in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, which is one of a hundred of world cities included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, is located in the Strelka district and bears the name of the Volga Arena.
Russian Ambassador to Argentina Viktor Koronelli told TASS earlier in the day that about 15,000 Argentinians already bought tickets for matches of the World Cup and several thousands more are expected to come to Russia to watch the games on huge screens or in sport bars.
On December 1, 2017, the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow hosted the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which determined the group breakdown for the FIFA flagship event this year. A total of 32 national football squads were divided into eight groups with four teams in each.
Team Argentina was placed in Group D alongside with the national teams from Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. The group stage matches of the Argentinian national squad will be played on June 16 against Iceland in Moscow, on June 21 against Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod and on June 26 against Nigeria in Saint Petersburg.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in 63 days with the opening match in the Russian capital of Moscow.
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.