Moscow: Russia met victory in securing the 2018 World Cup with a mix of chest beating and joy on Friday as media proclaimed the Russian bear triumphant over its Western European rivals.
“We are the masters of the field!” blared the front-page headline in sports daily Sovietsky Sport.
With a delegation that included Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich and national team captain Andrei Arshavin, Russia beat England and joint bids from Portugal/Spain and Netherlands/Belgium to host the sport’s most prestigious event.
“We never doubted our victory,” Russia’s tabloid Tvoi Den said in a banner headline under a large picture of the World Cup.
“We did everything,” the paper said, praising both Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov who led the bid.
Putin, whose powers of persuasion were seen as crucial to Russia’s 2018 bid stayed away from the voting at FIFA’s Zurich headquarters on Thursday, flying in later to say the country had won a tough, fair fight.
The World Cup victory comes as Russia prepares to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, giving the country a chance to celebrate its “chronic success” in attracting more high profile sporting events.
“The Olympics in Sochi, the soccer World Cup -- now no one can stop us!” the popular Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper said in its banner headline.
Some Television channels ran programming with soccer balls spinning at the bottom of the screen. Others ran banners reading, “Congratulations Russians!”
The games are sure to give a boost to soccer in Russia, where 16 teams compete in the premier league.
“It seems like a fairy tale dream but it is true -- Russia will host the 2018 soccer World Cup,” the paper said in its lead story.