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Russian fans to use spoons as World Cup instrument of choice

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MOSCOW -- Move over vuvuzela players. The musical instrument to master for this year's World Cup is the Russian spoon.

Eight years after South Africans blared away on their plastic vuvuzela horns when they hosted the contest, Russians are hoping fans at the tournament it hosts starting on Thursday will celebrate by clacking their "lozhkas" -- spoons that beat out an insistent, but quieter rhythm.

Folk musicians using the traditional instruments -- two wooden spoons held back to back and struck by a third -- have already become a feature at official receptions.

Less skilled supporters will be able to buy an adapted plastic pair, joined at the end for easier clicking.

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Designer Rustam Nugmanov got government backing to produce a line of coloured and branded "Spoons of Victory" that have been recognised as the tournament's official instrument.

"When we were choosing an instrument which is typically Russian and which reflects Russian cultural values, we had a choice of three: a treshchotka [clapper], a shaker and a lozhka," he said.

They wanted instruments that could knock out a rhythm, without totally dominating the proceedings like the vuvuzelas did before them. They also wanted to avoid the shattering rattling produced by Brazil's "caxirola" percussion instruments at the championships four years ago.

"That [the caxirola] sounds like a beehive and is a very loud instrument and also does not allow you to clap a rhythm," said Nugmanov. "We have chosen spoons."