Vladimir Putin opens the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final Draw

The event is being held in the State Kremlin Palace
01 December 2017
The ceremony of the Final Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ kicked off in Moscow. It gathered a huge number of international stars of the world of football, show business, a delegation of all 32 member countries and representatives of FIFA.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted the audience.

"Our country is looking forward to the World Cup," he said, "and intends to hold it at the highest 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."

After the president's speech, the Russian singer Alsou performed a song written for the event. Then the Moiseyev Ensemble was scheduled to perform, followed by Gary Lineker and Maria Komandnaya, the hosts, inviting the best scorer in the history of the World Championships, Miroslav Klose, who brought the Official World Cup Trophy to the stage.

Teams will be distributed into eight groups with the help of eight assistants - famous football players from the countries participating in the World Cup. The first assistant was the legendary Soviet forward, the first vice-president of the Russian Football Union Nikita Simonyan. It was he who took out the only red ball in which the Russian national team was, and lowered it to group A. Together with Simonyan, assistants are the world champion of 1998, the Frenchman Laurent Blanc, the World Cup winner-1966 Englishman Gordon Banks, World Cup 2006 winner Italian Fabio Cannavaro, two-time world champion (1994, 2002) Brazilian Cafu, legendary Argentine striker, 1986 World Cup winner Diego Maradona, 2010 World Champion Spaniard Carles Puyol and famous Uruguayan forward Diego Forlan.

This is not a complete list of football stars who visited the Draw. Were also present Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rinat Dasayev, Dmitry Alenichev, Thomas Berthold, Samuel Eto'o, Pak Ji-sung, Hugo Sanchez, Didier Drogba, Paolo Montero and many others.
In addition to celebrities, 11 honorary fans attended the ceremony - these are residents of the host cities of the 2018 World Cup, who, with their devotion to football, earned the title of Superfans.

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