A Long Way to Go: Russia May Seem Far Away Both Geographically and as a Developed Country, But It Is Ready to Play the Game
The recent victory for Russia in the bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup certainly came as a surprise for some of the other bidding countries and to many experts across the globe. Having lived in Moscow since 1995 and having experienced Russia’s victory in the bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics (to be held in Sochi on the Black Sea, near the border with Georgia), it was clear to me that this stunning win did not come as a surprise to Russians. It is difficult to express how much this means to the people of Russia — needless to say that celebrations last December lasted through the night.
Russia is a country that spans nine time zones, has a population of 142 million and is often in the media for very much the wrong reasons. The opportunity to host such a globally important and media-saturated event as the World Cup certainly presents Russia with a chance to present a more positive face. There is, though, much to do in order for the country to be ready.