Natalia Vodianova is hopeful the 2018 Fifa World Cup will bring about social change in Russia.
The model is enjoying the famous soccer tournament taking place in her home country, and was on hand to present the World Cup trophy, which was encased in a Louis Vuitton box, with Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas ahead of the first match last week (ends17Jun18).
Over the years celebrities like Madonna, Lady Gaga and Sam Smith have spoken out against Russia’s controversial anti-gay policies, but Natalia is confident the Eastern European nation will benefit from being the 2018 World Cup host country.
“It definitely will be an opportunity for social change in the country, because of the infrastructure that has been put in place,” she said to British Vogue. “Russia is a wonderful country, full of treasures, whether in nature, culture, people. Of course, like all the countries we have our changes to make and things to improve. But I am hopeful for the future generations, the children of the World Cup, who will see a different future for Russia.”
In the opening game of the tournament, Russia beat Saudi Arabia five goals to nil.
The 36-year-old beauty watched the game live with three of her five children, and says it was a special experience.
“I must say, that first goal Russia scored was like popping a blister,” she smiled. “It was such an important game for Russia – even the most enthusiastic supporters would not have predicted such a victory. We were very proud and are hopeful for the rest of the tournament.
“It was very special having my children with me – for Neva, my daughter, it was her first match. They all had the best time. Now we have a summer of football matches ahead.”