Russia May Lose on the Field at the World Cup, but Putin Is Winning

The tournament kicks off in Moscow on Thursday and although no Western leaders will be in attendance, the Russian president will be surrounded by old cronies

Anshel Pfeffer
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Anshel Pfeffer

On Wednesday afternoon, at the end of the FIFA congress where soccer’s international governing body selected the venue for the 2026 World Cup Finals and patted itself on the back for the upcoming World Cup in Russia, FIFA President Gianni Infantino ended the proceedings by screening a short PR video. It had many images of children of all colors playing soccer, joyous fans in the stands celebrating goals, and meaningless slogans about mission and vision. There was one message: “A new FIFA.”

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