Over 1,000 guests, including head coaches of the teams participating in the World Cup, attended the final draw ceremony at the State Kremlin Palace.
The results of the final draw will determine the line-up of each group and the match schedule.
Vladimir Putin also spoke to the global football stars invited to the event.
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Speech at the final draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Infantino, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
I am pleased to welcome you to the final draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the Moscow Kremlin.
The strenuous qualifying stage is over and today the 32 best football teams in the world will find out who their rivals will be and in what cities they will play their matches.
Our country is looking forward to the World Cup and intends to hold it at high level so that the leading football players can fully display their skills and show us everything that real football is all about.
And, of course, we believe that those who come to Russia to support their teams will leave with unforgettable memories. They will not only see the world’s leading footballers play up close, but will also get acquainted with Russian culture, our history and Russia’s unique nature, and experience our traditional hospitality and openness.
All the more so since the cup’s matches will take place in 11 cities, and fans will have an opportunity to visit several regions of this large and diverse country of ours.
Anyone who has visited Russia at least once knows how we receive friends. And we consider football fans, players and their coaches our friends. Our love for this game is long-standing, strong and nationwide.
I have just met with outstanding football players known to many generations all over the world. It is thanks to their efforts that football is so popular.
The names of our football players have been written into the history of world football forever. I am referring to Lev Yashin, Nikita Simonyan, Rinat Dasayev and dozens of talented, outstanding athletes. It is no surprise that over 2.7 million people play football in this country.
I am sure that the forthcoming World Cup will have a most powerful impact on the development on this sport both in Russia and around the world, primarily among young people.
We will do everything we can to make it a spectacular sports festival. Our most important goal is to further unite the large and friendly international football family for which sport, friendship and fair play override all else. These values are immune to changing circumstances.
The final draw ceremony that will start in several minutes is a game of chance. But it will not be chance that determines the world’s best football team.
The most prestigious, career-defining prize for any football player awaits those who show what they are capable of, withstand the intense competition and give everything they have to win.
I wish success to all 32 teams and invite their devoted fans to to Russia. I wish all the best and good luck to everyone.
See you in 2018!
FIFA President Gianni Infantino: President Putin, dorogiye druzya, dobry den!
Dear friends, good evening!
Dobro pozhalovat’ v Moskvu! Welcome to Moscow!
And, of course, it is a great pleasure for me to be standing today in front of you, and to say a few words after the welcome speech of President Putin to welcome all of you to this final draw ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Russia-2018.
The tension is growing, ladies and gentlemen. And if we are here tonight, my first thanks go to Russia, goes to Mr Putin – spasibo, President Putin – goes to the Russian Government, to the local organising committee, to all the volunteers in Russia and to all the Russian people who have worked extremely hard in the last seven years to bring us where we are and to bring us one stage further to the final tournament. Spasibo, Rossiya!
And thanks to all the 11 host cities which are doing a tremendous job.
And the world – the world coming to Russia next year, 1.5 million people from all over the world – they will find that Russia is a welcoming country, that Russia is a warm country, that you can celebrate football in this country with the Russian people who are waiting just for that.
And I’m sure that the experience in all the 11 cities will be absolutely amazing for everyone who is coming here next summer – not only but also because of the Russian people, not only but also thanks to the great football that we will experience.
We will know in a few minutes what the opening match will be in Luzhniki Stadium – an absolutely incredible stadium which will host the opening match and the final of the World Cup. We will know who plays whom when and where. The 32 teams represented here by their delegations deserve to be here – the best 32 teams in the world are here tonight and will be here next summer.
And to guide us through this evening, in addition to Maria, who will show us the beauty of Russia, we will have many football legends – Gary Lineker who will bring you through the draw, a top scorer in the World Cup. Mirsolav Klose, who will bring the trophy, the player who scored the highest number of goals in the World Cup.
Eight legends will help us make this draw, representing the seven winners of the World Cup in the history of football, and of course the Russian ikon Nikita Simonyan who will help us as well. And we have many other legends here in the room – Pele is sitting here with us as well. And it’s right that it’s like this, because the stage belongs to them.
We are here with President Putin, with all the management, to set the scene, and now that we have set the scene, we can let the artists celebrate football – celebrate football here in Russia next summer, celebrate football all over the world.
So, ladies and gentlemen, enjoy this draw! Enjoy the kick-off of the World Cup.! And especially, enjoy football next summer here in Russia! Spasibo bolshoye, thank you very much!