MOSCOW: The Russian government is pleased with the success of its staging of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the manner in which it has brightened up the country’s international image, according to the chairman of the local organising committee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Arkady Dvorkovich, chairman of Russia 2018, made his comments in an address on the World Cup legacy to a round table organised by the New Economic School and the Higher School of Economics.

Dvorkovich, as reported by TASS, said: “I wanted to visit as many matches as possible, I was able to attend 25 or 26 games, I visited all the big venues of this tournament, it’s not quite right to evaluate myself, but it’s definitely a football holiday.”

Hosts Russia reached the quarter-finals before losing on penalties to Croatia and Dvorkovich praised coach Stanislav Cherchesov “for doing an excellent job because few people expected to see the Russian team in the quarterfinals.”

Dvorkovich noted that thousands of people had worked on organizing the tournament, and “the result is delicious.”

He added: “Russia has changed its reputation, the image is more important than GDP, Russia is actually better than it seemed to many, especially in the West.

“Now Russia’s image has come close to what our country really is, although we know our problems, including in the economy.”