‘It’s where the World Cup starts for me’: Goalkeeping legend Schmeichel tours Saransk, Russia

With just two months to go until the 2018 World Cup, Peter Schmeichel is touring Russia’s host cities. This time, he visited Saransk to open the World Cup Park and challenge a goalkeeping robot.

Saransk – a one-hour flight east from Moscow – is the fourth city visited by Danish goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel on his tour. The city “is the one I was looking forward [to visiting], because this is where Denmark plays,” Schmeichel said while opening a football park in Saransk on Saturday.

“I am from Denmark, if you don’t know, and my son plays for [the] Denmark team, so this is where the World Cup starts for me emotionally,” the football legend said.

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Schmeichel told reporters about his experiences in touring the 2018 World Cup host cities. “I am really looking forward to the party that… football will bring to these stadiums, and it adds to the library of all experiences I’ve ever had.”

A sports mood is always there, as is the anticipation of the tournament, “so you can feel that now it’s coming,” the ‘Great Dane’ said.

Schmeichel said that the stadium in Saransk, which has the stands so close to the pitch, was “very impressive,” like all the other World Cup 2018 arenas he has visited.

“I would love to play when I played in stadiums like this when you’re on the pitch – you feel the crowd is there. And hopefully there’ll be a full house, more than 44,000 people. It’s going to create a good atmosphere and a good game of football,” he said.

While in Saransk, the legendary keeper also met up with his former Manchester United teammate Andrey Kanchelskis. The Russian winger said that Schmeichel was “still in great shape and would’ve been able to help Denmark in goal even now.”

Saransk is the smallest of the World Cup host cities, and its Mordovia Arena is located upon the Insar River. The stadium’s design is based on the theme of a red sun, which is also featured on the flag of the Republic of Mordovia, the capital of which is Saransk. The arena will host group stage games.

At the end of the event, Schmeichel was invited to takes some kicks against a robot goalkeeper and did well. He said he figured out how the robot works and decided to aim at the upper right corner of the goal, which is the weak spot.

Earlier, Schmeichel explored Nizhny Novgorod, where he test-drove Russian four-wheel trucks, as well as Kazan, another host city where he made a traditional dessert and attended a wedding.

Denmark goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel, who has embarked on RT’s World Cup 2018 special coverage, previously said Russia’s stadiums are top-notch and urged people to “relax a little bit” about criticism by Western media.

“Even though I played at the World Cup myself, this is going to be much more exciting to me,” Schmeichel told RT in March.
Schmeichel, who made 129 appearances for his country, said “I wish football stadiums [had been] like these when I played.”
“They’re brilliant, you get an idea about how the atmosphere will be.”

“Once [the tournament] starts, you know, [I feel] all the emotions of having my country there, and my son playing there, so [it is] really special for me,” he said, referring to his son Kasper, who will be in goal for Denmark in Russia this summer. 

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