We wish our neighbours well
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.