Newly-crowned Stanley Cup winner Alexander Ovechkin will attend the Russia-Spain match in Moscow to cheer for the national team in the absence of President Vladimir Putin at the game.
Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia’s head of state would not attend the game due to a busy work schedule.
The Washington Capitals star, who returned to Moscow last week, shared an Instagram story on Saturday confirming that he will go to Luzhniki Stadium to watch Russia’s historic last 16 game against the 2010 world champions.
“Tomorrow I will be rooting for our team,” Ovechkin said, showing his Fan ID.
Last month, Ovechkin, 32, played a crucial role in helping his team beat the Vegas Golden Knights in hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals, claiming the franchise’s first ever NHL championship.
Russia got off to a strong start at the 2018 World Cup, winning its first two games against Saudi Arabia and Egypt. A disappointing 3-0 defeat to Uruguay was not enough to deny Stanislav Cherchesov’s men a spot in the knock-out stage – the first ever for Russia.