Russia has staged a celebration of the World Cup at UN headquarters in New York with large screens to watch matches and an invitation to UN ambassadors to show up in the jerseys of their national team — which many did.
“We turned, I think, the whole UN into a big fan zone,” Russian UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya told a large crowd in the Delegates Lounge just before the start of the first World Cup match between Russia and Saudi Arabia late on June 14.
Nebenzya excitedly cheered his team on as they overwhelmingly defeated the Saudis by 5-0. But he told the other ambassadors, “I seriously hope it will be a peaceful month for us to enjoy both peace and football.”
Nebenzya posed for pictures with more than a dozen ambassadors wearing a colorful array of jerseys, including several women.
By coincidence, Russia holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council this month and several hours later he held another photo opportunity with its 15 ambassadors, all clad in their national jerseys, including U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and British Ambassador Karen Pierce.
To dramatize and make light of the often sharp differences aired by Nebenzya and his Western counterparts on world affairs that come before the council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres showed up in a black referee’s uniform for the photo opportunity.
But afterwards, Guterres put on the jersey of his native Portugal, which is competing in the World Cup.