May 25, 2019

May the strongest team win: Putin meets Saudi crown prince ahead of World Cup opener

Russias President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman both wished success to the strongest team ahead of their nations meeting in the opening match of the World Cup in Moscow.

The two met in the Kremlin on Thursday, along with Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih. While the main goal of the meeting was to discuss a deal on crude oil production cuts, much focus was on the upcoming football game between the two national teams – the event bin Salman came to attend.

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“I think youll understand, I cannot wish success to your team today. Let the strongest team win,” Russias president told the Saudi crown prince. “We stand for fair, open, beautiful sport. In any case, well admire the skill and watch the game involving our players together.”

Bin Salman appeared to be more light-hearted about the game, stating that any result would actually contribute to relations between the two countries.

“As for today's meeting of our national teams – let the strongest win. No matter how the match ends, we will still be satisfied, because we, thanks to our joint work, are making progress in various areas. Even if we lose, we will bring political, economic negotiating capital to our country. If we win, it will add to our achievements,” bin Salman told Putin.

Following the official meeting, Putin and his Saudi guest proceeded to Moscows Luzhniki Stadium to watch the opening game of the World Cup 2018.

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