What an evening it was at the Luzhniki Stadium! The reaction of the Russian President Vladimir Putin was telling, after the hosts scored the fifth goal of the night. He perhaps wanted to say, “I have no part to play in the result...”
The game, was dubbed as the ‘most boring opening game of the tournament’, but what a match it was! It was the start that 2018 FIFA World Cup needed to make an impression and set the tone for the tournament.
But, above all, it made the people of Russia happy. I met one of my Russian journalist friends during the halftime and later when we met again at the end of the game, she had tears of joy in her eyes. As we walked back to the metro station, she kept jumping around like a kid; most of the Russian fans kept the party going, on their way back home.
I too had my small moment of joy when I got the match-ticket to watch the game from the stands. The media accreditation allows you to enter the stadium premises and the media centre, but if you want to watch the match from the stands, you need another ticket. And, my name for it was on the waiting list — the opening match was oversubscribed for obvious reasons.
Now that the tournament has got off to a flyer, my work will intensify.
As the games come in thick and fast, I would need to shuttle between two stadiums in Moscow, Luzhniki and Spartak. My schedule in the days to come would be something like this — pack quickly after coming back to hostel, set an early morning alarm and the next day head to another city, to cover another game there. All in a day’s work!