The show of the Preliminary Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ will be presented by supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova and TV presenter Dmitry Shepelev. The pair will guide the global audience in more than 100 countries and territories through a programme introducing football fans to Russia’s rich culture. The exciting ceremony to determine the qualifying groups for the tournament will take place on 25 July at the Konstantin Palace in Saint Petersburg, with the draws of five of the six confederations to be conducted by FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.
“I am very glad that the World Cup is finally coming to Russia and our exciting journey is just about to start with the Preliminary Draw in Saint Petersburg," said Vodianova. “As a mother of four children, I know just what the World Cup means. I am sure that on 25 July many football fans all over the world will be inspired not only to support their teams on the road to 2018, but will also enjoy learning more about my country."
'The Dream' will be the leitmotif of the Preliminary Draw show, which is set to kick off at 18.00 local time (17.00 CET) and last two hours. The Konstantin Palace, which is currently an official location for top government meetings, international forums and congresses, will welcome 2,000 guests, including representatives from around 140 member associations, football icons, leading sports officials, renowned artists and celebrities. Around 700 media representatives, representing every continent, are set to cover the Preliminary Draw on-site.
“I remember as kids we used to kick a ball about outside pretending to be legends like Roberto Baggio, Romario, Zinedine Zidane and other World Cup heroes," said Shepelev. "I’d fantasise about scoring a goal in front of a sea of adoring fans. Later, I began to dream about attending a World Cup as a supporter. But presenting the draw show? That is beyond any dream I’ve ever had. I am positive that the show the Local Organising Committee and Channel One Russia have in store for us will delight guests and draw participants. As for me, I promise to work as hard as a striker trying to score in the World Cup Final!"
Natalia Vodianova, Russian Supermodel and philanthropist with her own foundation, has been one of the world's most prominent supermodels for the last 15 years. She established her own charitable organisation in 2004 that works in Russia and supports families raising children with special needs. In 2010, Natalia was part of the official Russian delegation presenting the bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Dmitry Shepelev was born in Minsk and is a Channel One Russia presenter. Dmitry’s experience includes working on Eurovision 2009 in Moscow, which earned him the TEFI award from the Russian Academy of Television.