Moscow (AFP) - French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Russia's President Putin for his "perfect" organisation of the World Cup as the two leaders prepared to watch the final on Sunday.
Macron and his wife Brigitte met the Russian leader at the Kremlin on Sunday afternoon before the match between France and Croatia at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
Macron told Putin he wanted "to congratulate you as the organising country for how well this event has passed off. It has not only been watched around the world, but the whole world has come here" to watch it.
"To do it in safe conditions and with everything going perfectly was a challenge, so well done for that."
Putin congratulated France for having reached the final.
"I am sure we will see an interesting, intense, close match which millions of spectators across the world will enjoy," he said.
Putin met earlier with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.
She congratulated him on his hosting of the competition, saying it was an "example of how such an event should be organised".
She presented Putin with a Croatia number-9 football shirt inscribed with his name.
Several other world leaders and sporting and show business stars were due to attend the final.