We wish our neigh­bours well

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FEATURES -

AS

World Cup open­ing fix­tures go, Rus­sia against Saudi Ara­bia did not ex­actly ooze glam­our but at least the party has started.

The of­fice sweep­stakes have been drawn, the fridges are stocked and for the next month, the world will be wrapped up in foot­ball as the great­est sport­ing oc­ca­sion of them all un­folds.

The ab­sence of Scot­land is re­gret­table but we are used to it now af­ter 20 years in the wilder­ness. Many of us will have picked our team to fol­low with min­nows and un­der­dogs firm favourites with the arm­chair tar­tan army.

Foot­ball will not be the only thing on dis­play how­ever. The hosts Rus­sia will be scru­ti­nised equally closely.

At the open­ing cer­e­mony, Vladimir Putin de­scribed Rus­sia as an “open, hos­pitable and friendly coun­try”. The ve­rac­ity of that re­mains to be seen.

In the mean­time, the progress, or oth­er­wise, of Eng­land will keep the United King­dom en­ter­tained or en­thralled.

We wish ev­ery team, in­clud­ing our neigh­bours, the very best of luck.

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