WASHINGTON, July 16 (Sputnik) - The Russian Embassy in the United States has marked the celebrations dedicated to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a concert of Russian saxophone virtuoso Igor Butman and the Igor Butman Quintet.
On Sunday, France secured their second title after beating Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. Hosts Russia qualified for the quarter-finals, but were eliminated as they lost to Croatia on penalties.
Minister Counselor of the Russian Embassy in the United States Dmitry Zhirnov congratulated the representatives of the French embassy with France’s win and presented them with a special gift.
"We cordially congratulate members of the French Embassy with their new champion’s title," Zhirnov said. "I would like a representative of the French Embassy to join me on stage, as we have a special celebratory gift on this happy occasion from Ambassador Anatoly Antonov to the head of the French diplomatic mission in Washington Gerard Araud. It is a Russian Imperial porcelain with our Embassy’s logo that would come in handy during a fancy Russian tea-party."
Butman, who became the World Cup ambassador of one of the host cities - Saransk, is currently on a world tour and could not attend the final match.
"Today, at this event we celebrate the end of the World Cup and the winners," he said. "Today’s evening is really special."
Butman noted that during the final game he was at the airport, where everyone was watching the game.
"Everyone was nervous. Some cheered for Croatia, while some cheered for France," Butman said. "I was happy when either team scored. It’s a beautiful game that makes people happy. The crowd of people watched, listened, and worried. People forgot about everyday problems, and that is exactly what music and sport should do, they unite people."
Butman also pointed out that this year’s FIFA World Cup helped break stereotypes about Russia.
"People have seen that Russia is kind, beautiful, not aggressive, and responsible," he explained.
Besides, Butman added, the World Cup showed that there are a lot of great teams like the great Croatian team, new English team, young great France team, Belgian team and, of course, Russian team that excellently played.
The event was organized and held with the support of Susan Carmel, the chairperson of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, and the Sustained Dialogue Institute.
Carmel told reporters that she was honored to organize event featuring Butman to "celebrate both the unifying excitement of the World Cup, and the sharing spirit of cultural exchange."
"The World Cup is certainly cultural, it involves so many nations. I saw for myself when I was in Russia how wonderful everything was run," Carmel said. "Everyone was commenting on the incredible Russian hospitality that they received and I myself, and the group that I was with the same thing, it was very impressive."
Carmel also pointed out the spirit of camaraderie and friendship in Russia during the games among the people from many different countries.
"Everyone was there for one reason to share one event. What the Soccer World Cup did particularly in Russia and the way it was run was bring people together from so many countries," she stressed.
Butman’s performance was accompanied by a slide show of the photos of the great moments of the 2018 FIFA World Cup championships.
Many guests of the event came in jerseys of their countries national teams, including Russian, Argentinian, German, Turkish and many others.
The halls of the embassy were decorated in football theme: with Zabivaka wolves and balls on the tables, and banners with Russia’s host cities of 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Zabivaka mascot was meeting guests and posed with them for pictures.
Russia's first-ever FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and came to a close on Sunday with 64 games played in 11 cities across the country.