Russia adopted a comprehensive and responsible approach to preparing for the World Cup, which united millions of people globally around football, President of Russia Vladimir Putin said in his opening remarks at the gala concert at the Bolshoi Theater.
"Our efforts have been praised by athletes, who we have accommodated in a way for them to show their maximum potential, and by the media, assisted around-the-clock by staff at 11 city press centres of the tournament," the President said.
Vladimir Putin said that Russia was grateful for the millions of kind words the World Cup guests had for the country and its people.
"We are glad that they have appreciated the hospitality, openness, nature, culture and traditions of our large country. We are pleased that our guests had the opportunity to see it with their own eyes, and that the myths and prejudices have been laid to rest," Vladimir Putin stressed.
The President promised to discuss possible simplification of the visa procedures for foreign citizens who attended the World Cup in Russia.
"We will make sure that they can continue to explore our country, especially since it can build on boundless potential — a testament to Russia's multi-faceted, unique and great character, the openness of its people to friendship, cooperation, useful and creative joint projects, and common goals," Vladimir Putin said.
The President also thanked everyone who made the decision to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and FIFA President Gianni Infantino personally.
"I would like to once again express our gratitude for the trust that I hope we have lived up to, and for the support we received during the preparations. And, most importantly, for having faith in Russia as a country that keeps its promises, respects its partners and says true to the great spirit and principles of sport," the President said.