KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) - Russian women wearing elaborate bridal dresses took to the pitch in the World Cup host city of Kazan on Saturday for a friendly soccer match intended to show their love for the sport.
Wearing floor-length white dresses and running shoes, the women split up into teams of five and played 15-minute halves on gravel in front of a small crowd.
“We had a nice appearance but it wasn’t very comfortable,” said Gulnaz Sharipova, a player on the winning team who had never played soccer before.
“It’s not only a man’s game,” said Maryana Raznogorskaya, the team’s goalkeeper. “The most important thing is friendship and solidarity.”
The winning team was awarded a replica of the World Cup trophy, made out of flowers.
This unusual match served as a warm-up for the World Cup’s first action-filled knockout-stage match in which France beat Argentina 4-3 in Kazan.
Russia is hosting the soccer World Cup for the first time, holding matches in 11 cities.
Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber,; Editing by Neville Dalton