The big day has come! The most awaited moment of the year is just a few hours away. FIFA World Cup 2018 is kicking off at 18.00 tonight with the host team facing Saudi Arabia.
At the moment I’m writing this post, the start list for Team Russia has not been announced yet. Such an intrigue – which does not seem like something that could crucially influence the team’s performance, to be honest. The general opinion is that our national team is most likely going to win, but the rivals will surely give them a hard time getting there.
I myself have had a wonderful morning on BBC World News Radio. I was invited as a guest to their morning programme, hosted by Ben James. It’s been my first-ever time on live radio – thrilling experience, I have to say! We discussed our expectations concerning the Russian national team, the changes which the tournament has brought to the country, the fate of the infrastructure built for the event, local people and food, and so on. Worth getting up at 5 a.m.!
By now you’ve surely seen tons of match previews and other analytical stuff on sports media, so I won’t be overloading you with more of it. Instead, I’d like to give you a flavour of the atmosphere around the tournament, as I have finally had a chance to take a walk around off my work hours.
The whole city center in Moscow seems to grow wilder and wilder, 24/7. Nikolskaya street, located next to the Red Square, has turned into some sort of Babylon. At night it gets so packed you can barely squeeze yourself in. Once you’re in there, you find yourself totally lost in the whirlpool of colour and sound. Fans from across the world screaming, shouting and singing at every corner, on every bench; flags hanging from walls and street lights; Mexican sombreros, horns, crazy outfits – you name it.
What I loved most about last night was this guy (nationality unidentified) dressed in this multi-flag gown singing Bésame mucho right beside GUM department store (the beautiful building facing the Red square). He had actually been singing something in Italian before this one, and switched to the Russian romance “Ochi Chyorniye” (“Black eyes”) afterwards. Check out the video and try singing along with the crowd – no worries if you don’t know the lyrics, as barely anyone did!