MOSCOW, July 15. /TASS/. The FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia has been a success and its best achievement is that anti-Russian myths and prejudice collapsed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said opening a gala concert at the Bolshoi Theater on Saturday.
"Russia was getting ready for the championship substantially and responsibly, and we are sincerely glad that it has been a success and has united millions of people," Putin said.
"Our efforts have been properly praised by the athletes, who were offered the best conditions for showcasing their best capabilities, and by media representatives, since the staff of the championship’s eleven media centers were working round the clock to help them, and certainly, by the fans," he said.
Putin emphasized that "coming to Russia to support their national teams, they embodied the diversity of an international football family. However, the main thing is that that they demonstrated their best features, which are friendship, spiritual unity, loyalty to the principles of sport and the ideals of equality and mutual respect."
The Russian president appreciated the millions of warm words that fans and participants of the soccer World Cup had said about Russia.
"We are thrilled that our guests saw everything with their eyes and that myths and prejudice collapsed," he said adding that a few hours were left before the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"Today, on the eve of the final of the world’s chief soccer tournament, I am convinced that we are united by similar feelings. We are looking forward to the match which will name the leader of international football. On the other hand, we are sad because the grandiose festival of sport that has given us so many positive emotions, vivid impressions and new friends is almost over."
The final match of the championship for the much-coveted World Cup Trophy brings together the teams from France and Croatia and will be played on Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow starting at 6:00 p.m. local time (15:00 GMT).
Russia is staging its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14.
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 national football team of hosts Russia managed to make it to the quarterfinals stage of this world championship, where Croatia edged them out in a 4-2 penalty shootout on July 7 at the Fisht Arena in Sochi.