Over the next month, I'll be covering the World Cup for Tribalfootball. And along the way, I'd like to share with you some of my experiences and keep you up to date with all the action.
A special day
I've spoken about the noise from Mexico and Argentina fans over the course of this World Cup. You can now include Russia fans in that category. I have no qualms about Stanislav Cherchesov's tactics yesterday despite how dull they made the match. Mind you, Spain's tepid attack was just as much at fault. Despite their team recoiling, those in attendance cheered every failed attacking move and booed every toothless period of Spanish possession. You could see the nerves once penalties became a reality. Hands over their faces, some not watching at all. It started to make me feel nervous! So once Akinfeev produced that magnificent save it was hard to feel happy for the underdogs.
That was just the beginning
I've been left overawed on several occasions over the past two and a bit weeks but last night was something special. I was just as excited leaving the post-match press conferences as I was before the game.
All I could hear from the moment I stepped off the train was horns, whistles and the bellowing of RU - SSSSIIII - AAAAAAA. It was bedlam. People hanging from cars, running across traffic. Man, woman, child, old, young. All waving their flags, singing, hugging, dancing, crying. So much joy amongst an enormous amount of people is a powerful thing. It was another reminder of how sport can bring people together, and it was an incredible moment to be apart of.
Last night's party won't stop anytime soon, but for the rest of us, the football continues today with another two round of 16 matches.
We head to Samara for our first clash with Brazil vs. Mexico. Tite's Selecao enter as favourites but does that really mean anything with Germany, Argentina, Portugal and now Spain out of the tournament?
Our late game is Belgium vs. Japan in Rostov-on-Don. The Belgians are growing into themselves as the tournament goes on, and the win over England, albeit with a second XI, would've done wonders to their confidence. I can't say I've been impressed with Japan but they too will be feeling confident after getting through arguably the toughest group in the tournament.
Today's #WorldCup fixtures:
Brazil vs. Mexico
Belgium vs. Japan pic.twitter.com/Qvzbpzh9Ny
— PF | World Cup (@PurelyFootball) July 2, 2018