FIFA President Giovanni Infantino said on Wednesday that Russia had never been conquered, but starting Thursday, it will be conquered by football.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will kick off in Moscow on Thursday with a match between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia.
"Russia has this thing of never having been conquered. The breaking news of today is that, as of tomorrow, Russia will be conquered. Russia will be conquered by football. And kicking off from the Luzhniki Stadium, football will conquer the world as of tomorrow and for quite some time," Infantino said during the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow.
FIFA President also expressed gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Local Organizing Committee, volunteers and 150 million Russian citizens.