Putin to attend 2018 World Cup’s opening match

Publish: 12:50 PM, June 14, 2018 | Update: 12:50:PM, June 14, 2018

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup, which will be held on Thursday at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, the Kremlin’s press service reported.

The head of state will also watch the opening match played by the teams of Russia and Saudi Arabia.


Among the guests of the World Cup are high-ranking officials from a number of countries, including foreign leaders.

In particular, the heads of state and governments of Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Moldova, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and South Ossetia are planning to attend the ceremony and the match in Luzhniki.

Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Russian President will hold meetings with some of the guests.

In particular, the president is scheduled to have talks with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.

The Kremlin spokesman noted that Putin and Al Saud do not plan to discuss Russia’s withdrawal from the deal with OPEC.

The Russian leader will also meet with Chairman of the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea Kim Yong-nam. On Wednesday, the head of the Russian state met with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Rwanda, Bolivia, Lebanon and Armenia in Moscow.

Speaking at the FIFA congress on Wednesday, the Russian leader said that several generations of Russian fans had been dreaming of hosting the World Cup.

“Twelve first-class stadiums and modern infrastructure have been built” in Russia, he noted.

“Our goal is that all our guests -from football stars to ordinary fans – will feel the warmth and kindness of our people, get into the spirit of Russia’s multiethnic culture and unique nature and (we) hope (you will) all wish to come here again,” Putin stated.

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.