After a month of exciting and end-to-end football, just a couple of days remain to the end of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.
And to wrap up the tournament, Fifa president Gianni Infantino declared the Russia World Cup as the “best ever” during a press conference at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, where the curtain will be brought down with the grand finale between France and Croatia Sunday.
“It is an incredible, amazing World Cup. From the very beginning of the tournament, we have experienced incredible emotions from being here and in two days the top of all this will be the finals. These couple of years I said the 2018 World Cup will be the best for all time. Now I can say it again, being convinced that this is the best world championship in history. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the organisation and preparation of the tournament,” Infantino said at the presser.
Infantino also thanked the Russian government, its president Vladimir Putin and the Local Organising Committee.
“I thank all the people in this country who have ensured the optimal hosting of the World Cup, the best of all times. The heart and smile of the World Cup are volunteers, thousands of people who have worked for the organisation of the tournament,” Infantino noted.
He added that Russia would continue to be a “football country” after the tournament as the beautiful game has become an integral part of the nation.
“Russia has become a real football country, a country where football is not only the World Cup, which is organised at an excellent level, but where football has become part of the country’s DNA and the country’s culture. This is thanks to the performance of the Russian national team, of course, but also thanks to all the work that has been done, the infrastructure, the stadiums, everything is extremely beautiful and extremely efficient,” the Fifa supremo said.
During the course of the hour-long presser, Infantino also expressed satisfaction with regards to the Video Assistant Referee and clarified the reasons behind expanding the World Cup to a 48-team event.
"This is progress, this is better than the past," he said. "VAR is not changing football, it is cleaning football, making it more honest and transparent and helping referees to make the right decisions.
"You will never see any more a goal scored in an offside position, it's finished because either you are or are not offside, these are clear decisions."
"Whether the 2022 World Cup will be over with 32 or 48 teams we will decide in the coming months. If we can, we will talk about it in the Fifa Council," said the Swiss.
The Fifa boss was also grateful for the incredible atmosphere in Russia throughout the tournament. He was effusive in his praise of the players, referees and coaches who took part in the greatest show on earth.
“The 32 teams that made it here, that made us dream; a big thanks to them. It was them, the players, who talked on the field. Now we have a very special final between France and Croatia, two teams that played an important semi-final back in 1998. Special congratulations to them,” he concluded.