World Cup 2018: Behind the scenes on Putin's oil deals and diplomatic wrangling

The Kremlin set few international relations goals from the tournament, says Andrey Sushentsov, programme director of the Valdai Club, an elite discussion club linked to the Kremlin.

“The task has always been to avoid major reputational damage,” says Sushentsov.

“Now that’s been achieved, we have to convince people that Russia is a normal country, not the caricature published in Western newspapers.”