7/15/2018 1:10:51 PM (GMT+3)

Russia 2018 has been a good package of football and history

Russia 2018 has been a good package of football and history

MOSCOW: Thousands thronged the iconic Red Square for one last time on Saturday afternoon a day before the World Cup final to catch up with the activities that has kept the adrenalin flowing ever since the tournament got underway here last month.

The iconic street remained the world’s nerve centre as the curtain comes down on the month-long tournament on Sunday.

From the marketing point of view, the event has been a good package of football and history where the onion-shaped domes of the imposing Saint Basil's Cathedral shining brightly as the sea of fans immersed themselves in a lively get-together before the final.  

In FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s words, “Russia has brought the world closer.”

The tournament has been as non-violent as the previous ones and it was a big slap on the British media who had prophesised that it won’t be trouble free. But Russia presented us a much friendlier World Cup than anyone expected.

Hooliganism that’s usually associated with the game was surprisingly absent making families, young and the old ones confident enough to return back to the country on their next vacation.

“I’ve seen hooliganism in England. I was a little apprehensive to bring my family here. I only thought about their safety, but the excellent security arrangements has been excellent,” said Anees Mohammad, who travelled from Qatar to Saint Petersburg for the first semifinal between France and Belgium.

An Indian expat based in Doha, he also wanted to get a first-hand World Cup experience.

“Qatar will be hosting the next FIFA World Cup. But before that I wanted to get a feel of the atmosphere and be a part of 2018 Russia,” added Mohammad, who waved the miniature Qatar national flag at the Red Square.

Moscow definitely gave fans like him a high. After all, it’s a city that breathes history. No wonder then the organisers made apt use of the famous Red Square as the centre of attractions by putting up a Fan Zone, where several top political leaders and former stars participated in various activities.

Another Doha-based expat from Sri Lanka Najeem Inamul Hasan, a labourer, said he was fortunate enough to be at the tournament.

“I thank Generation Amazing for this wonderful experience. I I was selected as one of the eight members who were selected to visit Russia World Cup. It’s an amazing moment I can’t explain,” said Hasan.

After the dust settle down at the Luzniki Stadium on Sunday evening, the country will be sorely missed as it broke certain myths about being cold and stony-faced.

Spasiba Russia for being a wonderful host!