Moscow, June 6: An isolated Russia throws open its doors in a week for a world cup full of glitz and glamour designed to ring in the hosts from the cold.
The month-long celebration of the world’s most popular sport has been haunted by fears over racism and violence as well as diplomatic spats.
But Vladimir Putin has left no stone unturned making sure the biggest most controversy-laben- event Russia has seen since Moscow’s 1980 Moscow summer Olympics seduces a scep-tical world.
Twelve sparking stadiums in 11 cities spanning the European portion of the world’s largest country are ready after getting of their last licks of paint.
And superstars ranging from Brazli’s Naymar to Argentina’s Lionel Messi and portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo are all healed up and rearing to fight for the glittering jules Rimet Teophy on July 15.
Almost every second paron on Earth tuned into the last edition of the sapctacular in Brazil in 2014.
That tournament saw the hosts suffer a traumatic 7-1 beating by Germany in the semi-finals that left a nation obsessed by football in shock.
Eventual champions Germany and Brazil again top a list of favou-rites that also includes Spain and past winners Argentina and France.
The hosts are the second-lowest ranked team of the 32 in the final and are riven by internal squabbles and injuries.