Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

World Cup 2018: Huge task for Russia to be ready in 8 years

There were no street parties in Moscow last night - it was -16 degrees after all.

BY SHAUN WALKER IN MOSCOW

AND TOM PECK IN LONDON



But motorists waved Russian flags as they drove along the city's main ring road and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin immediately boarded a plane to Zurich to have discussions with Fifa and congratulate the Russian bid team.

For the first time in the history of the tournament, the World Cup will be held in Eastern Europe.

It was the Russian prime minister who quickly assumed centre stage, as he so often does.

He appeared on Russian television saying that it was a great day for Russia, before dashing off to Switzerland.

That Mr Putin was not already in Zurich for the vote had been a late surprise.

He released an extraordinary statement on Wednesday criticising “unacceptable” campaigning methods and the “smearing” of members of Fifa’s executive committee.

His words were a thinly veiled attack on the England bid and the Panorama documentary aimed at exposing |alleged corruption within Fifa.

The country now has a colossal task ahead of it to prepare for the World Cup in eight years' time.

Most of the stadia for it will have to be built from scratch, and the Russian media have estimated that the total cost will be over £2.5bn.

Elsewhere, there was disappointment.

When the result came in in London, the assembled masses booed for a brief moment then, and with a sense of relief that the wait was finally over, quietly slipped away to begin the commute home.

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