Denmark goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel, who is working with RT as part of its World Cup 2018 special coverage, said Russia’s stadiums are top-class 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. “Once it 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,” the former Manchester United ‘keeper added, referring to his son Kasper, who will be in goal for Denmark in Russia this summer.
Schmeichel, who made 129 appearances for his country and is nicknamed the ‘Great Dane’, said Russia’s World Cup stadiums are top-notch and that he wishes he’d had the chance to appear in similar venues during his playing career.
“I think, ‘I wish football stadiums [had been] like these when I played,’” he said, laughing. “They’re brilliant, you get an idea about how the atmosphere will be.”
“You know, the crowd is so close to the pitch,” Schmeichel said, adding: “they’re all around the same kind of theme, but they’re all different as well, very individual. One looks like an UFO and another one I saw is actually looking like a cake.”
In December, Schmeichel co-hosted the final draw coverage from a special RT studio set up near the State Kremlin Palace.
Now, with the FIFA 2018 World Cup fast approaching, Schmeichel described his experience of touring some of the host cities with RT. “I’ve been to Russia for so many times – last time it was 10 years ago – and I’ve seen how changed the country is,” he said.
The legendary keeper then went on to question some of the negative press Russia has received ahead of the tournament. “All the things you read about, that it’s going to be dangerous, and, you know, Russia’s cities are closed and it’s not going to be entertaining.”
“[I’m] absolutely sure that FIFA and the authorities have got everything under control,” Schmeichel said, adding that “so far my experience is that everything is run smoothly and very well organized.”
“So, my advice is to relax a little bit about the things that we see every day in the Western media and then enjoy it!” Schmeichel urged.