FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday reacted to Germany’s surprise exit from the World Cup group stage with a smile.
“That’s football,’’ the head of football’s governing body said at a newly opened football park on central Moscow’s Red Square, showing a thumb`s up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Swiss Infantino, 48, had nothing else to say about the titleholders’ first-ever exit in a World Cup opening group stage.
The Germans became the fourth defending champions in the last five tournaments to be eliminated in the group stage following a 2-0 loss to South Korea on Wednesday.
A pair of injury-time goals eliminated the four-time champions, while knowing a 1-0 victory would have been enough to advance because of the result in the other group match.
Former Germany player, Lothar Matthaeus, and ex-Brazil striker, Ronaldo, also attended the event in view of the Kremlin.
Mr Infantino, previously not available to international media during this year’s tournament, answered a few questions during his joint appearance with Mr Putin.
“Beautiful, unbelievable, great celebration, great matches, perfect organisation, hospitable country,’’ Infantino profusely praised the tournament’s organisation.
The FIFA chief assured journalists that the condition of the football pitch in Samara would be acceptable in spite of a heat wave.
“I’m going today to Samara to make sure they cut the grass at the right level so everything will be perfect,’’ he said.
Training sessions have not been able to take place at the stadium in Samara to preserve the pitch.
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