So was pre-World Cup Russia misunderstood or have we been hoodwinked by a slick PR offensive?
That will be followed by a reception at the presidential palace, with hundreds of guests, including people from soccer clubs known to the French players, like that of the poor suburb of Bondy, where 19-year-old star Kylian Mbappe grew up. "Two stars", the latter a reference to the emblem teams are allowed to wear on their shirts each time they win a World Cup. Paul Pogba played a magnificent tournament.
Muscat Football Academy head coach Chuck Martini said taking such a bold decision in a World Cup final took guts.
On July 11 it announced it was preparing to take legal action in Saudi Arabia against pirate broadcasters, transmitting stolen live World Cup games from Qatar's beIN Sports.
Many fans from around the world have also spoken of a positive experience at the World Cup in Russian Federation.
France featured in each of the top three matchups.More news: Now Theresa May faces recess rebellion (and another Brexit bill)
Similarly untested defenders Kieran Trippier (seven pre-World Cup caps) and Harry Maguire (six caps) played a huge part in England's run to the semis, with each scoring along the way and Trippier earning plaudits as a Team of the Tournament candidate at right back. Rather, it was on teams like Croatia, England and Russian Federation who shocked the world with their superb performances.
"Thank you Mr President for your kind words", Putin said in English, which he rarely uses in public. "It's not in one area, but in the entire world". He is clearly hoping the World Cup victory glow rubs off on him, raising him up in a nation that is fiercely protesting his economic reforms. This was the ninth all-European World Cup final ...
Mohanlal is seen quite excited about the match, although it isn't clear as to which team he was supporting for the final match that was held in Russian Federation. "They are too attractive, France is lovely!" said Julia Cohen, 28, after seeing players pass by on the Champs-Elysees, the gathering point for all national celebrations.
They came into the tournament as the best team and left it as the best team.
Russian Federation will host the 2019 Winter Universiade and the International Tchaikovsky Competition, a major musical event. The next World Cup will be held in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022.
"Staging the 2022 World Cup in our country is a really important event in the history of Qatar".