When it comes to soccer, forget about diplomacy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman that he's ready to get to work establishing bilateral, unifying relationships with the country - but he doesn't wish Saudi Arabia well Thursday.
That's because the two countries will face off in the opening match of the World Cup, hosted by Putin's Russia.
"We are very happy to see you, including in connection with the opening of the World Cup," Putin said to Salman at the opening match, according to the World Cup's own coverage. "You know how warm we are to you, but I think you will understand me. I cannot wish success to your team," Putin continued with a laugh.
Saudi Arabia's and Russia's teams will face off in the first match scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET in Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. "The strongest team will win," Putin said.
Putin added that bilateral relations "are developing effectively in areas of politics, economic cooperation, where we still have a lot to do. But it's clear our cooperation is quite effective and productive both for Saudi Arabia and Russia."
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince said, "Whatever the outcome of today's match, we will be satisfied, because we are making progress in various fields through joint work. Even if we lose, we will bring political and economic negotiating capital to our country. If we win, it will be a plus to our achievements."
Once the World Cup gets heated Thursday, Wall Street bosses may have to set aside any hopes of a productive week. According to Thomson Reuters data, trading volume in the U.S. dipped 43% during the 2010 World Cup.
Expert Advice for a Risky Market. We asked top experts from Bank of America, Fisher Investments, Invesco and Wells Fargo what smart investors should do right now. Click here and register for free to watch what these market watchers recommend.