RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin may attend the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the Russian capital of Moscow on Friday, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this week.
“This is highly possible and we hope that the president will find some time on his schedule to do it,” Peskov told journalists, adding that the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final Draw is one of the most important events in Russia’s preparations to host the world’s main football championship.
The presidential spokesman said the preparations for the 2018 World Cup are “in full steam and the event will be marvelous.”
FIFA has also announced that eight high-profile football players from around the globe would “be lending a helping hand on Friday” during the much-awaited Final Draw for the 2018 World Cup at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace.
The announced football stars to assist at the Final Draw ceremony are Laurent Blanc, Gordon Banks, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlan, Diego Maradona, CarlesPuyol, Miroslav Klose and Nikita Simonyan.
Pot 1 will contain Russia and the highest-ranked seven teams. Pot 2 will feature the next best eight teams, and so on for Pots 3 and 4. The draw will divide the 32 teams into eight groups of four from A to H.
Each group will play three matches, before the top two countries advance to the second round. Russia will be in Group A as host nation.
The 32 teams which have qualified for the World Cup, include host Russia, Belgium, Germany, England, Spain, Poland, Iceland, Serbia, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Croatia, Denmark and Sweden (Europe); Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina and Peru (South America); Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama (North America); Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia (Asia); Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal (Africa).
Meanwhile, former England striker Gary Lineker will play a crucial role in deciding his home country’s World Cup fate.
The Match of the Day presenter will conduct the draw for the group stages of the World Cup alongside Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya.
“As a player, I was fortunate enough to take part in the World Cup finals on two occasions,” Lineker told FIFA’s official website.
“It is quite special to be involved in yet another tournament, now on the stage, unveiling the results of the draw.
“I have been on the other side, waiting to find out my opponents, and I know how exciting this occasion is.”
Lineker was forced to defend his decision to host the draw having been a vocal critic of FIFA corruption in recent years.
“I’m hosting the draw for a World Cup that I’ve watched all my life, played in twice, won its Golden Boot and will present for @BBCSport for the 6th time next summer.”