‘World Cup fans to discover the real Russia live and not from papers’ – UN ambassador
“We were aspiring to this event,” Nebenzia said of the World Cup, speaking from a stage decorated with artificial grass and the Russia 2018 mascot, Zabivaka. “We are expecting spectators to come from around the world, who will learn about Russia not from the newspapers; who will learn about Russia live and hopefully will bring a part of Russia back home with them.”
The usually austere Nebenzia was in a festive mood as he even danced with Russian popstar Zara, who sang at the event. The World Cup presentation was attended by ambassadors from many countries as well as by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who turned out to be an avid football fan.
“It so happens that, by coincidence, I’ll be on an official visit to the Russian federation and I’ll be able to see a match of my own team [Portugal],” Guterres said from the stage. “I wish the best [success to Russia] in this very important event.”
Less than two weeks remain before the World Cup kicks off in Russia on June 14. The biggest event in football, which the country hosts for the first time ever, will see teams from 32 nations, playing on 12 venues in 11 Russia cities, with the winner to be decided at Moscow Luzhniki stadium on July 15.