July 7, 2018 / 2:57 PM / a month ago

Croatian president flies into Russia for World Cup match

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic flew into the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi to support her country’s football team who face Russia in the quarter-final of the World Cup on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - Croatia Training - Croatia Training Camp, Sochi, Russia - July 6, 2018 General view of Croatia players during training REUTERS/Henry Romero

Grabar-Kitarovic flew in from Zagreb on a charter flight organized for Croatian soccer fans planning to attend the match, which is due to start at 1800 GMT on Saturday.

Veniamin Kondratyev, head of Russia’s southern Krasnodar region, met the Croatian President at Sochi’s airport, his administration said in a statement, adding that 10,000 Croatian fans were expected to attend the game.

“A crucial match is ahead of us, I am sure both teams will perform well and show us a beautiful game,” Kondratyev was quoted as saying by his administration.

Russia’s TASS news agency quoted fans who took the same flight as Grabar-Kitarovic as saying that some of them took selfies with the president during the flight.

“She likes the sport, and what she is doing now is normal for the president. She took a flight with ordinary people, greeted everyone. And I like it: we have a small country, we are like one team,” one of the Croatian fans told TASS.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to attend the match with Grabar-Kitarovic, TASS said.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Andrew Osborn

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