MOSCOW

Fifa president Gianni Infantino thanked the Russian people and government on Friday for what he described as the "best World Cup" ever.

Sporting a Fifa volunteers' jacket, Infantino told reporters in Moscow that Russia's infrastructure and welcome allied to the quality of football and success of VAR (the video assistant referee system) had contributed to the success of the tournament.

"Since a couple of years I was saying this would be the best World Cup ever. Today I can say it with more conviction because I lived it and you lived it. It is the best World Cup ever," said Infantino, two days ahead of the final between France and Croatia.

Infantino told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Kremlin last week that the world "all fell in love with Russia," over the past four weeks and repeated his praise for Putin's government and the organisation put in place for the tournament.

More than one million foreign fans have visited Russia during the World Cup, according to Fifa figures, and Infantino said preconceived notions of the country had been changed by their positive experiences.

"I think the World Cup has changed the perception of the world towards Russia," added Infantino.

"Everyone has discovered a beautiful country, a welcoming country, full of people keen to show to the world what maybe sometimes is said is not what happens here."

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