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Putin looks for legacy as World Cup journey begins

He is determined that the tournament will enhance the nation's international reputation, but key controversies and risks surround the month-long tournament.

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As with the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, Mr Putin has overseen massive investment in infrastructure for the World Cup with an estimated US$11 billion spent on stadiums, and upgrades to airports and transit in 11 Russian cities.

THE World Cup - the globe's largest sporting event alongside the Summer Olympics - kicks off in Russia on Thursday night in Moscow.

Recently re-elected President Vladimir Putin is determined that the tournament will enhance the nation's international reputation and be part of his eventual

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