Print Edition - 2018-06-13  |  World Cup Special

Moscow authorities urge locals not to drive in the runup to opening match

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Jun 13, 2018-

Moscow authorities are pleading with locals not to drive in the runup to Thursday’s World Cup opening match to avoid causing gridlock in the city. The Russian capital of 12 million people is creaking at the seams as it starts receiving hundreds of thousands visitors for the month-long football final. Fans from the 32 participating nations will almost all either be based in Moscow or fly in and out of the sprawling and chronically congested megalopolis to the other 11 host venues. Moscow officials had insisted for months that they had planned everything out to make sure the city functioned like clockwork once the games begin. They sounded less confident on Tuesday. The city’s transportation department said some of Moscow’s busiest roads will have to be closed off to general traffic to make way for dignitaries arriving for the opening ceremony. “Due to the high number of events and the arrival of important guests, additional road restrictions are possible — especially in the city centre,” the transportation department said. The city said traffic cops will also be stopping traffic to make room for various FIFA delegations and busses shuttling in fans from Moscow’s four airports. “We strongly urge city residents to use city transport and to leave their cars at home for the coming days,” said the transportation department. “This will make your trips easier to plan.” Russia has inherited the Soviet-era practise of shutting down roads travelled by senior officials or visiting foreign dignitaries. Parts of Moscow crawls to a halt during morning and evening rush hour when President Vladimir Putin is sped to and from work. The roads are usually closed from the point of Putin’s departure outside Moscow to that of his arrival at the Kremlin as an extra precaution. (AFP)


Deschamps set to stick with Giroud

ISTRA: France coach Didier Deschamps spent part of his first day in Russia defending Olivier Giroud as the Chelsea forward battles to stave off stiff competition for places ahead of Les Bleus’ World Cup opener against Australia. Giroud recently scored his 31st international goal, equalling the tally in a France shirt of Zinedine Zidane, but Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele has also staked his claim for a starting berth in attack with his form in the pre-tournament friendly matches. “Don’t take any of Olivier’s quality away from him. He scores a lot of goals, and regardless of whether they are beautiful or not, they are still goals. He is a finisher, a goal-scorer with a different profile,” insisted Deschamps at France’s base in Istra, near Moscow. Giroud should be fine for France’s opening Group C clash with Australia in Kazan on Saturday afternoon despite needing stitches in a head wound suffered in the 1-1 friendly draw with the United States in Lyon at the weekend. “His head is fine. He has had six stitches so obviously as a precaution we need to make sure he doesn’t touch the ball with his head for at least the next 48 hours,” said Deschamps. Rain greeted the French team as they trained for the first time in Russia on a pitch deep in the forest west of the capital, where Deschamps is fine-tuning his players ahead of their World Cup campaign. He already admitted to French television on Sunday that Paul Pogba is almost certain to start against Australia despite criticism of his performances this season. N’Golo Kante will also play in the French midfield, but the other spot is up for grabs between Blaise Matuidi of Juventus and Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso. (AFP)

Poland’s Glik cleared to play by Monaco

PARIS: Poland defender Kamil Glik has been cleared by his club Monaco to play at the World Cup after making an unexpectedly quick recovery from a shoulder ligament injury. Polish Football Federation (PZPN) president Zbigniew Boniek tweeted a week ago that Glik had no chance of taking part in Russia after suffering the injury in training. Polish team doctor Jacek Jaroszewski had added that Glik would probably need surgery. But the 30-year-old defender, who is highly rated at set pieces and for his leadership, has been given a green light to rejoin the Poland squad after a full medical in Monaco. “After tests today (Monday) and taking into account a very favourable development, Monaco has authorised Kamil Glik to rejoin the Poland World Cup squad,” a Monaco statement said. Poland captain Robert Lewandowski spoke glowingly of the defensive enforcer last week. “He’s the backbone of our defence. He’s a key figure in key parts of the game,” Lewandowski said. Before heading to Russia on Wednesday, Poland have a warm-up against Lithuania in Warsaw on Tuesday. Poland open their Group ‘H’ campaign against Senegal on June 19. (AFP)

Published: 13-06-2018 07:32

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