Tasnim - Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya says that to conduct the 2018 World Cup Final Draw is an incredible experience for her.
Komandnaya will present the Draw alongside former England forward Gary Lineker, a long-standing critic of FIFA, at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Dec. 1.
They will be joined by eight draw assistants, one of whom is Russian football legend Nikita Simonyan. The remaining seven and the presenters of the show will be revealed in the coming days.
Komandnaya has worked for Russian TV for more than a decade as one of the country's best known sports journalists. She has also been working for FOX Sports since last summer.
In an exclusive interview with Tasnim news agency's Alireza Moharami, Komandnaya says that she was thrilled to learn that she has been chosen to present the 2018 World Cup Draw.
Tasnim: First of all, how did you feel when you first found out you were chosen to conduct the Draw?
When FIFA told me they were considering me as a host for The Final Draw, I was thrilled. It is such a great honor for me! So, I had the interview with FIFA. They needed to check my English skills and to understand my level of football awareness. Then the email showed up in my inbox, informing me of the incredible news. I have been ecstatic ever since.
Will the World Cup leave a positive legacy in Russia?
For sure. The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is a great chance for Russians to show the whole world how beautiful our country is, and how great and hospitable our people are. Millions and millions of the fans will be watching The Draw. And it's a great chance for everyone to make new friends, no matter where are you from. Football unites. It’s a universal language and everyone can speak.
It will be an amazing experience to conduct the ceremony along with football stars.
Of course. It will be an incredible experience to be on the same stage with Gary Lineker and other amazing football stars. I have been working in sports journalism since I was 17. To be a sports journalist is a great journey, the most exciting in my life.
Anything to say?
Thank you again to FIFA and the Local Russian Organizing Committee. This will be a truly extraordinary event! Before the Draw there will be some media opportunities for the accredited journalists. So I will be happy to answer your questions.