It has been like rainbow after rain in Moscow for the last couple of days as fans from across the world have thronged the Russian capital and other cities in their thousands ahead of the World Cup, which kicks off at the Luzhniki Stadium today.
The iconic Bolshio Theatre square, Karl Marx square and the opposite end of Red Square in the city centre are the popular destinations for the travelling fans, who are painted in different colours on the streets of Moscow, turning it into a truly global centre of sporting festivity.
Argentina fans, draped in their famous white and sky-blue shirt, appeared at the Bolshoi square with a banner of their superstar Leonel Messi. The five fans from the city of Salta were singing a song and looked very confident about winning the title in Russia.
Not far away from them, four Brazilian fans, attired in yellow, were enjoying their time with a young Russian playing a guitar to a samba tune. The Brazilians showed six fingers while uttering hexa, which means they were confident that the Selecao would win the World Cup for a record sixth time. They were, however, reluctant to talk about the disappointment from four years ago and when asked if they had watched that fateful 7-1 defeat against Germany, they said in unison: “No, can't remember anything about that game”.
Mexican's are famous for sombreros. But a young group of five preferred to carry Mexican wrestling mask. When asked which team they would follow after the probable early departureof their team, one of them protested vehemently: “We will win the World Cup in Russia. We love [Coach Hector] Hereera.”
As one crosses the road and walks past the Karl Marx square, he will be attracted by the electrifying presence of three young Egyptian fans, draped in their red and white flag and the image of Mohammad Salah in their T-shirt. They were singing a song, which in a nutshell, means 'Mo Salah is the Pharaoh of Egypt'. There were two Moroccan fans in the mix and they warned that their country would spring a surprise in Russia.
A French couple, wearing dresses matching their national flag, felt that the present team blended youth and experience well and have the ability to win the World Cup. Fans of Peru appeared more imposing in the mixed zone until the Iranians outnumbered them. The army of green and white paraded in a way as if they had won the World Cup. They were so big in size that they partially blocked the main road. The atmosphere was vibrant and consuming. It was really a sight to behold. Football is not only a beautiful game but also the most entertaining one, on the field and off it.