Countdown to kick off! Russia marks 100 days until World Cup

World Today

FBL-RUS-WC-2018-100 DAYS People take part in an unveiling ceremony of a FIFA World Cup 2018 countdown clock to mark 100 days to the beginning of the tournament in central Saint Petersburg on March 6, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Olga MALTSEVA)

The 100-day countdown to the World Cup kicked off in Russia. Cities across the country are gearing up for the international football tournament, and people are showing their excitement.

CGTN’s Julia Lyubova reports from Moscow.
Follow Julia Lyubova on Twitter @JuliaLyubova

With the push of a button, the 100-day countdown was launched. It may have been freezing cold, but the weather didn’t stop 6,000 specially chosen volunteers from ice skating, dancing and celebrating.

“You have to give a part of yourself, and people are drawn toward you,” volunteer Ekaterina Gorshkova said. “You help people, and this is the best part of the job.”

Volunteers like Ekaterina will be the face of Moscow during the tournament. Young and old, some even volunteered during the 1980 Olympic Games. The city is one of 11 that will be hosting matches, and will welcome the most visitors of any.

FBL-RUS-WC-2018-100 DAYS

A man looks at the digital FIFA World Cup 2018 countdown clock placed in front of the Red Square and the Kremlin in Moscow marking 100 days to the beginning of the tournament, on March 5, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV)

“Moscow is absolutely ready to host the World Cup and thousands of visitors,” according to Nikolay Guleyev of Moscow’s Sport and Tourism Department.

He said 1,323 hotels have been approved, transportation upgraded, and both stadiums – Luzhniki and Spartak – are ready to host matches.

To mark the event, FIFA produced a promotional video featuring 100 kicks performed by an array of football stars. The video ended with Russian President Vladimir Putin kicking and heading the ball with FIFA’s president.

 

With 100 days to go, Russia says it is on track. Millions of tickets have been sold to fans across the world, and most of the construction work has been completed. While many questions remain about security, racism issues and potential hooliganism, Russia promises the tournament will be one to remember.