Russia's capital Moscow was on Thursday morning awaiting the start of the 2018 World Cup.
The hosts Russia will play Saudi Arabia in the opening game later, and fans of each team along with supporters of Peru and Uruguay were among those gathering in various fan areas.
As the start of the tournament nears, Russia is on the defensive on many fronts.
The national team is on a losing streak so bad that few expect it to even make it past the first round, and pressure is massive for a victory in the opening match against Saudi Arabia.
Sales of tickets to foreigners are lagging amid sanctions and tensions between Russia and the West over
Syria, Ukraine and alleged Russian meddling abroad.
Security is exceptionally tight across the 11 cities hosting matches and beyond, amid concerns of hooliganism or extremist attacks.