Baku-APA. FIFA has brought forward three fixtures involving European teams at the Brazilian World Cup to avoid post-midnight kick-offs for fans back home, including the key Group H clash between Russia and Belgium, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.
That match on June 22 at the legendary Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro was to be played at 1900 local time, which translated to a 2 a.m. start in Moscow, but now will begin at 1300 local time, or 8 p.m. in the Russian capital.
Unfortunately for Russia fans, the team's opening game against South Korea in Cuiaba on June 18 at 1900 (2 a.m.) has not been brought forward, nor has the final game against Algeria, which starts at 1.40 a.m. in Moscow.
Other games affected include England's opener against Italy in Manaus on June 14, which had been slated to start at 2100 local time (2 a.m. in Britain) but will now kick off at 1800 (11 p.m.). FIFA said the humid conditions for that game in the midst of the Amazonian rainforest would not be any different at the new start time.
Meanwhile, Spain's potentially crucial clash with Chile in Rio on June 22 has also been brought forward by three hours.
Four other games have been set back by a few hours so they can be played at a cooler time of day.
They include Ivory Coast against Japan in Recife on June 14, which is now at 2200 local time; Cameroon vs. Croatia in Manaus on June 18, which moves from 1500 to 1800 as does USA vs. Portugal on June 22; and South Korea against Algeria in Porto Alegre on that date, which goes from 1300 to 1600 local time.
Friday's World Cup draw was arguably the kindest possible for Fabio Capello's Russia, who will be expected to progress to the knockout stages along with the Belgians.