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Everything to be done for 2018 FIFA World Cup guests ‘to feel like home in Russia’ — Putin

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15

ST. PETERSBURG, May 25. /TASS/. Russia pledges to hold the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup at a decent level so that all guests and football fans from around the globe would ‘feel like at home’ during the championship, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

Russian President Putin spoke on Friday at the 2018 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia’s second largest city at a meeting attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Asked by a moderator of the meeting about which country would win the football championship, Putin replied that "the winners will be the organizers, who will make sure to see a decent organization of this outstanding holiday for the international society, for all fans of this marvelous international game. This is our task in any way."

"As for a team bound to win the championship, I would say that let the best one win," Putin said. "I really want this event to be a true holiday for everyone passionate about sports and for all of our guests."

"We will do everything possible to see that all fans, specialists, players will feel like home during their stay in Russia," the Russian president said.

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe said he was optimistic to see the national team of Japan playing against Russia in the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

"This is what I dream of, because I may have caught a bug of optimism or perhaps of the time difference," Abe said.

Japanese Premier Abe said he also saw in his dreams that the so-called Samurai Blue would defeat the French national football team in the semifinals round.

"But to be honest, (French President) Emmanuel (Macron) imagined at that moment how the French national team defeats Japan with a considerable advantage in the score," Japan’s Abe said as he smiled and looked at the French leader at SPIEF talks on Friday.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in 20 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.