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© RIA Novosti. Georgiy Kurolesin

Russia - Let's make World Cup history together

by at 02/12/2010 18:42

Russia has been chosen to host the 2018 World Cup following a tense day of lobbying and voting in Switzerland.

FIFA’s decision, announced by president Sepp Blatter shortly after 6:30 pm Moscow Time, means the country will host the world’s biggest sporting event for the first time.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces Russia’s moment of glory

© RIA Novosti. / Alexander Vilf

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces Russia’s moment of glory

And it offers another huge boost for Russia’s national prestige with the 2018 tournament coming hard on the heels of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the recent announcement of the country’s first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix races from 2012.

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, holding the World Cup trophy, told delegates at FIFA’s Zurich HQ: “You have entrusted us with the FIFA World Cup for 2018.

“I can promise – we all can promise – that you will not regret this. Let’s make history together!”

As The Moscow News predicted on Monday, the chance to break new boundaries and take the World Cup to Eastern Europe for the first time proved irresistible to FIFA’s delegates.

And despite concerns that the bulk of the bid was still at the planning stage, high-level political backing for the project convinced delegates that Russia would deliver the 13 brand new stadiums intended to host the competition.

Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov holding the World Cup trophy after FIFA's annoucement

© RIA Novosti. / Alexander Vilf

Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov holding the World Cup trophy after FIFA's annoucement

And a heartfelt final pitch, which combined schoolboy dreams of sporting glory with the hard-headed pragmatism of visa relaxation and free internal travel for fans, was enough to swing any wavering votes Russia’s way.

After a campaign riddled with allegations of corruption, there will be plenty who assume Russia has bribed its way to success.

And the next eight years are likely to lead to intense international media scrutiny of how the ambitious World Cup project is converted to reality – not least from a deeply aggrieved English media already muttering about how they were robbed in the voting.

But for now, Russian fans are simply enjoying the moment and hailing a famous off-field triumph – while dreaming of greater glories to come on their home turf.

Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup.

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