Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has promised two famous Russian traditions will remain during the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup this summer: a hospitable reception in Russia and an unpredictable national team.
Speaking to RT at a Moscow promotional event for the tournament, which will be held in four Russian host cities from June 17 to July 2, Lavrov said he expected those arriving will be received into the reliable hands of Russian volunteers.
“It depends on how we play and how we receive our guests. But I am sure we will be very hospitable,” said Lavrov when asked by RT host Neil Harvey how big a chance the tournament will be for Russia to show itself in a positive light.
“As for the quality of the play of the Russian team I cannot predict – they are very unpredictable guys,” he added.
“Of course, this is going to be the first time the Confederations Cup and the World Cup [in 2018] are going to be in Russia and I am sure the Russian volunteers will make everything necessary for all our guests to feel at home.”
Lavrov also revealed he is a fan of Spartak Moscow, which recently won the Russian Premier League title, ending a 16 year championship drought stretching back to 2001.
Speaking of his affinity for the Red-Whites, Muscovite Lavrov said “once one [takes] to a team with all his heart, he stays with it forever.”
Lavrov, a life-long fan of Spartak football team: once one took to a team with all his heart, he stays with it forever pic.twitter.com/bNFzPPHAxo— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) May 28, 2017
Russia have qualified for both the Confederations Cup and next summer’s World Cup due to their status as host nation.
But after the team crashed out of the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France last summer having failed to win a single game, Lavrov may be correct in his assessment of the national side.
Nevertheless, the call for volunteers at the tournament has been met with a wave of enthusiasm.
It was announced in April that the Volunteer Program for both the Confederations Cup and the World Cup had become the largest of its kind in history in terms of applications.
The 2017 Confederations Cup will take place from June 17 to July 2 in the Russian host cities Kazan, Sochi, St. Petersburg and Moscow.
The volunteers are 71 percent male and 29 percent female, and their numbers will be distributed as such: St. Petersburg 1,733; Moscow 1,590; Sochi 1,261; and Kazan 1,260.
The Confederations Cup is seen as a precursor to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which Russia will also host in 12 stadiums across 11 cities next summer. It will be the first time either tournament will be held in Russia.