100 Days Until World Cup Kickoff

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(WFI) One hundred days to go before the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia.

Less than four months before the eyes of the world focus on the most watched sports spectacle on the planet. To mark the 100-day countdown, FIFA released a video that included FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Russian President Vladimir Putin having a kick.

In Moscow, Russia tried this Tuesday, March 6, to show its readiness for the football tournament it will host for the first time in the history of the event.

The country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Vitaly Mutko, announced that half of the 12 stadiums selected to host World Cup matches will be commissioned within 10 days.

Mutko however did not name which six stadiums will be handed to FIFA for their inspection later in the month.

A seventh stadium, in the city of Samara, will also be commissioned in April.

"We have no concerns whatsoever regarding other facilities and I am sure that the world championship will be held at a very high level," said Mutko, who oversees the issues of sports, tourism and youth affairs in the Russian government.

Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches: Moscow (two stadiums), St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

Samara’s Cosmos Arena is among those World Cup projects forced to scale back as costs and logistics have mounted. The first test event at that venue is not scheduled until April 28, perhaps too close to the World Cup.

Access issues have presented certain challenges at other venues. When Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, site of the next World Cup final, hosted Russia’s game against Argentina in November, there were two-hour lines to reach a local train station after the game. The venue will have another test when Brazil visits the tournament centerpiece on March 23.

The 21st FIFA World Cup begins on June 14 when the Russian hosts take on Saudi Arabia and concludes just over a month later in Moscow on July 15. 

By INSIDER Javier Monne 

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