World Cup trophy arrives in Moscow

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By Robert Hackwill
World Cup trophy arrives in Moscow

Less than two weeks to go now before the World Cup begins in Russia, and the tournament organisers have been showing off the trophy, brought to the capital by Germany's former captain and world cup winner Lothar Matthaus. He unveiled the golden prize together with Russian and FIFA officials in Manezhnaya Square next to the Kremlin.

Before reaching its final destination in Moscow, the trophy was taken on a tour throughout Russia, visiting the cities of Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg and Moscow, making it the longest host country tour in history.

Germany are the current holders, but now the trophy is in Russian hands until the winner is known.

"This World Cup unites countries. It unites older people with younger generations. It brings together people from all over the world, regardless of origin or age, said Matthaus at the Moscow event.

One of the few major western sponsors still advertising during the event was much in evidence; the others, citing FIFA's corruption woes and considering the organisation a "toxic" brand have pulled out, leaving the field open for Chinese companies, who have piled in. Expect to be seeing many new brands the Chinese must be hoping will soon become global household names. Expect FIFA to be grateful as well, which may see the Chinese gaining infuence within the organisation.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held from 14 June to 15 July at 12 stadiums in 11 cities. It opens with the hosts playing Saudi Arabia in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on June 14.