By Kayode Ogundare in Moscow:
It was a carnival-like atmosphere on Thursday when this reporter arrived in Moscow for the LIVE, on-the-spot coverage of the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Thousands of Moscovites trooped out to celebrate the effective countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with the draw which comes up on Friday evening at the Kremlin Palace here in central Moscow.
Residents thronged to the famous Red Square and adjoining areas despite the chilly weather which saw ankle-deep snow falling on them as they snapped pictures and patronised fast food, cafes and bars which dotted the metropolis.
The draw will be anchored by former England striker Gary Lineker, who will be assisted by several World Cup legends.
The draw is billed to start at 6pm here, 4pm Nigerian time.