Behind the scenes, before the Final Draw
Event held to offer sneak peek behind the scenes ahead of Final Draw
Media from around the world in attendance
The Final Draw "will be a night full of surprises"
With the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ just over 48 hours away, a sneak peek behind the scenes was offered today at the Kremlin State Palace in Moscow to show the preparations reaching their finale.
Maria Komandnaya, who will help conduct Friday’s draw, hosted the event. Former Uruguay forward Diego Forlan was also in attendance, and was joined by Chris Unger, from FIFA Competitions, Paul Redman of FIFA TV, Natella Nikolau from the LOC, Channel One’s Felix Mikhailov and Alsou – one of the performers set to wow the world during the Final Draw.
There was also a place on stage for two undoubted stars of the Final Draw, and the World Cup itself, with the media getting a glimpse of the coveted World Cup Trophy and the Official Mascot Zabivaka.
The discussion was split into two parts. Firstly, the artistic side of proceedings was in focus, with Alsou and Mikhailov - the latter of whom helped create the artistic concept of the Final Draw itself - taking centre stage.
"The theme is the dream which we announced during the Preliminary Draw in Saint Petersburg." Mikhailov said. "Two songs will be premiered during the Final Draw. One of them, a song about a dream - what happens to someone when they believe in their dream – will be performed by Alsou. It will be a night full of surprises."
Alsou, whose back catalogue of songs includes duets with Enrique Iglesias and Bon Jovi, will be one of more than 200 performers on stage on Friday, when the eyes of the world will turn to Moscow.
"The song I will be performing was written especially for this ceremony," Alsou said. "It will be performed in Russian and in English. It's about a dream and believing in oneself, so the song sends the right message so that people never give up."
Draw Assistant Forlan was then joined on stage by Unger to help explain the proceedings for the draw itself. This will be not be Forlan’s debut assisting with the groups in Russia, as the Uruguayan also lent a hand during the Preliminary Draw.
"It’s true that I’ve been here before, well in Saint Petersburg," Forlan said. "It was a great experience but this time I think it’s a bit different. It’s the big event. Everybody wants to know - the fans, the people want to know, where to book hotels and plane tickets. It’s nice to see, for Uruguay, the national teams that we will be playing against.
"We are in the draw, we're happy to be in the World Cup," Forlan responded, when asked who he would like La Celeste to face. "We are among the best, and we have to play against them."
With the eyes of the world turning to Moscow, more than 1,500 members of the media are ready to descend on Russia. This behind the scenes glimpse of the internal workings of the Final Draw will likely whet the appetite for what should be a spectacular occasion - one that will act as a fitting precursor to Russia 2018.