16 Jul ExploRussia.Football.Love.Forever
Today is July 16. The most thrilling WORLD CUP 2018 is over. France is the champion, the sixth country to win the World Cup more than once. Luka Modrić of Croatia won the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. Antoine Griezmann became the final man of the match, Kylian Mbappé won the Best Young Player award. For the first time in the history of World Cup finals, the own goal was scored. It was Mario Mandžukić who redirected the ball into his own goal. And we still shout Russia Russia go! No matter what are the results. The song by Morcheeba is playing in our heads “When the party’s over You got no way to go”. We are in the mood of sweet sadness, we cry and smile at the same time.
Why do we cry?
We cry because when something great is coming to an end, you want to do everything to prevent it but you can’t.
Why do we smile?
Here you will not be able to stop us talking as we treasure every moment of this event but we will try to be short.
Mundial was a breath of fresh air to us.
First, it is the number of tourists that was 5 times more than the previous June-July season.
Second is the number of countries. People all over the world wanted to know what the real Russia is and they trusted us, our local guides to make their experiences about Russia.
Third is our country. We are really proud of it because we felt and saw how local people even those who do not speak English made their everything to help foreigners. In the supermarkets, metro, police on the roads, taxi drivers, we have plenty of these small stories now and we want them to be a normal situation not just because of the World Cup.
Fourth we can’t but mention our Russian national team. This is even not a story about football. This is a story about 23 guys, coaching staff who managed to remove the stigma of outsiders. And now we just want to say: “Thank you, team”. Thank you for these three amazing weeks. For our voice shot at five games. For understanding that you should never give up. Even when you are rated the worst team of the World Cup and no one believes in you. And even when you miss a goal in extra time, you can still fight for the win…
Fifth is thankfulness of the foreigners, our tourists, they say that they fell in love with Russia, some at first sight. One of our tourists from Japan who was travelling Russia came back to Japan and decided to return to Russia after a week of travelling because she thought “I may never have experiences of the World Cup in Russia in my life again”. Others who knew already what Russia is bought tickets to Russian national team games and shouted for Russia with us. No doubts, this attitude towards Russia is the top of the top.
Russia won the hearts of millions and even those who had great doubts about it. No more words just read these articles below:
The Guardian. The UK. “Message to the English: come to Russia and feel the love”
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE. “FIFA tells Putin world is ‘in love’ with Russia”
The Oakland Press. New Zealand. “Jim Evans — World Cup dispels stereotypes”
Russian language blog. The USA. “Experiencing the World Cup in Russia”
Travel Blog from Denmark. Travelling Claus. “Impressions from the World Cup in Russia.”
We want to thank everybody involved in the organisation of FIFA World Cup 2018, volunteers, over 2 million tourists and fans who despite of all threats that could influence their decision to go to Russia made their Russian tours and shared the atmosphere of joy and happiness with us, ExploRussia team who worked hard during this period, our awesome local guides who did their best to show the main landmarks as well as hidden gems of the cities.
And we want to say our new friends from all over the world just Let’s stay in touch!