Russian Police Find Over $2 Million in Jewels in Mud-Covered Bags Buried in Ground From 2018 World Cup Heist
The 2018 World Cup in Russia was apparently exciting off the field as well.
Russian police said they found more than $2 million worth of jewelry buried in a forest, believed to be a hidden trove from a heist carried out when the country hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Reuters reported.
Russian police said that they believe the heist was pulled off by a Colombian suspect during the World Cup games.
Police found mud-covered plastic bags filled with rings, brooches with diamonds and gems, which they said had been recovered in the woods in the city of Kazan. Russian police say the hidden trove was found after the suspect, a Colombian national, confessed to hiding them, Reuters reported.
Authorities have released photos of the mud-covered plastic bags full of the goods.
The suspect was arrested in Argentina in 2019 and extradited to Russia earlier this year, the police said in a statement, released on Thursday.
The jewelry, worth 160 million roubles ($2.2 million), had been stolen while being transported for display at an expo in Kazan, one of the cities that hosted World Cup matches, according to Reuters.
Russia, which normally has strict visa requirements, waived many of them so foreign soccer fans could enjoy the World Cup.
The 2018 World Cup in Russia was deemed by critics as one of the most entertaining tournaments for the sport. It saw France beat Croatia 4-2 in the finals with Les Bleus winning their second World Cup trophy.
“The 21st edition of the world finals also produced countless moments that will endure in the collective memory of those who love the beautiful game,” FIFA declared of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. “From Kaliningrad to Ekaterinburg, from Saint Petersburg to Sochi, there were smiles and celebrations aplenty as millions came together to enjoy what was a true festival of football.”
Then-19-year-old French star Kylian Mbappe took home the “Best Young Player” award at the World Cup and became the youngest person to score in a World Cup final since Pele did it in 1958.
Following his country's victory, Mbappe took to Twitter to post a photo of him kissing the World Cup trophy.
Mbappe also made headlines during the World Cup off the field for donating his earnings from the tournament to Premiers de Cordee, a charity that gives free sports instruction to hospitalized and disabled children, according to reports.
"Kylian, he's a great person," Sebastien Ruffin, general manager of Premiers de Cordee, told Le Parisien. "When his schedule allows it, he intervenes for us with pleasure. He has a very good [relationship] with children. He always finds the right [words] to encourage them. I sometimes even feel that [he] takes more pleasure to play with the kids than the kids themselves."
Another of France’s star players, N’Golo Kante, left the World Cup final due to a reported stomach bug. The midfielder was subbed off in the 55th minute, a move that left many scratching their heads.
Kante did pick up a yellow card earlier in the final, which had many believing that was the cause for the switch. However, that was not the case, as Kante was battling gastroenteritis, according to French newspaper L’Equipe. Kante played every minute for France during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, except for the final.
France first won the World Cup in 1998, months before star Mbappe was born. Current French manager Didier Deschamps became the third man in World Cup history to win the trophy as both a player and boss, behind Brazil's Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.
France is only one of eight nations to have won the World Cup since it started in 1930. Brazil has won the most trophies with five, while Germany and Italy are tied for four wins. Other nations to have won the FIFA World Cup include Argentina and Uruguay, who have won it twice, and England and Spain, who have won it just once
The next FIFA World Cup will take place in December 2022 in Qatar, marking the first time the tournament will take place in the Middle East and will not be played in the Northern Hemisphere summer months of June and July.
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