MOSCOW: Russia’s perpetually late World Cup football stadium in Samara had some good news to report exactly two months before kick-off: it is finally getting its grass.
Twelve gleaming white lorries filled with rolls of the precious pitch arrived Saturday in the Volga River city from Germany.
Photographs proudly tweeted by the regional administration also showed nine construction crane-type objects identified as “artificial suns” stationed outside the stadium.
They will be suspended a few feet above the pitch once the grass is rolled out and start shining as much light as possible so that everything sticks in place.
“The nine ‘artificial suns’ will warm up the grass so that it gets accustomed to Samara’s soil as quickly as possible,” the administration said.
How long that takes will go a long way in deciding whether Russia has a big mess on its hands when the games begin on June 14.
Russia is sparing no expense as it prepares to host the international football extravaganza at the height of a new spike in diplomatic hostilities with the West.
More than $13 billion (10.5 billion euros) are officially going into stadium construction and refurbishments for the 11 host cities.
Each is getting a new or refurbished airport and repaved roads. Hotels are being built in places few foreign visitors ever venture.
The first World Cup to reach the former Soviet Union is meant to show off Russia’s might at every turn.