20:14 GMT +321 September 2018
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    An Iranian football fan during a friendly match between Russia and Iran. File photo

    Thumbs Up! Iranians Applaud Russia's Preparations for 2018 World Cup

    © Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich
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    The Iranian national football team has managed to snatch a 1-1 draw with Russian counterparts in an exhibition match in the Russian city of Kazan. Speaking to Sputnik, Iranian fans praised the Kazan stadium's perfect condition ahead of the FIFA 2018 World Cup and gave kudos to Russian fans' hospitality.

    An Iranian fan named Siyavush said that he easily bought tickets to go to a stadium in the Russian city of Kazan, where "friendly volunteers" quickly helped him find his seat.

    "There were no problems between the Iranian and Russian fans who sat side by side," he told Sputnik Iran

    Siyavush was echoed by Mahsa, a female medical student from Kazan, who underscored the special atmosphere of hospitality at the stadium.

    "This is my first time here and I'm very happy about it. Our consulate in Kazan reserved tickets for us in advance. We reached the stadium without any problems. The atmosphere is simply excellent, and all Russian fans are very polite and hospitable," she said.

    Iranian student Saeid, who recently came to study in Russia, said in turn jokingly that unlike "calm" Russian fans, those from Iran are more energetic and noisy. "We like to shout and make noise when we support our team," he explained.

    Also attending the match was Khodadad Azizi, who had been a member of Iran's national football team between 1992 and 2005. In an interview with Sputnik Iran, he specifically noted that he saw no instances of hooliganism among the Russian fans, which is not the case with football fans from Europe. 

    "I played on three continents, including Asia, Europe and America, and I can say that there were no riots in the stadium in Kazan, where Russian fans quietly watched the game," Azizi said.

    He added that there is much more excitement among the football fans in Europe, not least Britain, which blames Russian fans for alleged violence, probably because the UK is against the 2018 World Cup being held in Russia.

    Asked how Russia is ready to host this event, Azizi said that what he saw in Kazan and at the city's stadium indicates that everything is set for Russia to host the World Cup in 2018 "at a good level."

    "The Kazan Arena is a beautiful and comfortable stadium which has a capacity of about 45,000 people. 30,000 of them can quickly enter and take seats. Ahead of the 2018 World Cup, Russia demonstrated that it was technically ready to successfully holding the sports event," Azizi concluded.

    Russia is hosting the World Cup for the first time in 2018. It will take place in 11 cities across the country from 14 June to 15 July.


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    fans, stadium, hospitality, football, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Iran, Russia
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