The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is drawing ever nearer -- with just one day to go. All the participating nations and their fans and supporters from across the globe already arrived in Moscow. Thousands of supporters showed their national colors in the Russian capital ahead of the opening fixture on Thursday.
Hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in the World Cup opener -- and there were clear signs already of the huge security operation which will greet fans, FIFA sources said.
It will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA.
The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team.A police presence was on show at major metro stations, along with military outside the city's Luzhniki Stadium, which will host the opener and the final.
All eyes are on Russia for the biggest football show on the planet, though fans did not seemed concerned about the country's recent diplomatic record. Supporters from Peru, Iran, Egypt and Argentina, among others, were proudly displaying their teams' colors in Moscow's Red Square three days before the big kick off.
Workers continue construction of a Fan Zone area near the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow this week. (PA) More Gareth Southgate's 23-man squad will fly out to Russia on Tuesday from Birmingham. The Three Lions will be hoping to better recent World Cup performances, having disappointed in Brazil 2014 and South Africa 2010.
Russia's musicians will perform in the Moscow Metro stations international hits from the countries participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Moscow Metro official Yulia Temnikova said in an interview with TASS.
"We have seen to it that fans would not have to part with their favorite sport during the trip, and created a cultural and entertainment program. To start with, in the metro, we will hear national songs of the countries participating in the World Cup," she said.
According to Temnikova, participants of the Music in the Metro project are already preparing the new repertoire, and are getting ready to perform national hits of the countries, whose national teams will be playing on a particular day.
Furthermore, on July 10-July 15, there will be more than 70 professional guide tours in English and Russian, during which the passengers can find out about modern stations, architectural monuments and legends of the metro.
"Each tour will be an hour and a half long, and it is necessary to sign up beforehand on the metro's official website. The sale of tickets has already started," the metro official clarified.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place at 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara - from June 14 until July 15.
---Simanto Mallick, AA
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