The preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia’s Saransk are in the final stage as the country gears up for the global showpiece in June.
Despite the cold weather, construction on the arena situated in the smallest Russian city, is going ahead as planned.
Saransk has undergone major construction projects in the run-up to the tournament, including renovation of the airport and construction of a new residential complex.
The venue in Saransk is one of 12 that will host World Cup matches in the summer, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan and Samara.
FIFA’s Colin Smith says:”We landed at a new airport, it is very impressive, the new hotels. We can see the effort and the commitment of the city and the region into preparing for the World Cup.”
“There are three test matches planned as in all the stadiums – the first one is due on the 21st of April. We need to see however how long this colder weather lasts and check the condition of the pitch before confirming.”
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo joined his Portugal team mates before the side leaves for Switzerland for two friendly matches.
The European champions face Egypt in Zurich on Friday, and the Netherlands in Geneva three days later.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos is struggling to finalise his squad for the World Cup in Russia due to a combination of loss of form of some key players and injuries to others.