Fans from just about all countries were going to Russia with major concerns. You would be beaten up by Russian hooligans as soon as you get there. You’d be robbed. You would be arrested for even the slightest misconduct. How surprised were they that literally everything turned out to be quite the opposite
So much that they remained surprised right until they left. And not just fans and tourists - we were surprised too. At how friendly and open we have proved to be, prompting a question among many - maybe it all was just a dream?
Pavel Nikiforov, reporter: «This is one of the key places of a World Cup. And not just in Russia - in any country. Im talking about a bar stand. If I were smarter, I would’ve opened a pub or a cafe prior to the World Cup - and made some good money. Some cities even ran out of beer on matchdays».
Right, if I were smarter..But lets get away from the train station. 11 kilometers to St. Petersburg stadium. And with every step you have to keep thinking about the match while trying to enjoy the incredible city engulfed by the football craze. Lets go!
Do you think fans ignored our museums for fan-zone and pubs? Wrong. Thanks to the World Cup, Russia and all things Russian will be a global trend for some time. Its inevitable after a World Cup - that the host country would remain in demand for some time. And particularly this country’s art.
Russia became a different country for this month. As many pointed out, from the very first days it seemed like an illusion of Russia. We turned from gloomy northerners into smiley and emotional. Even policemen were untypical polite and open. Smiles in the streets of St. Petersburg - thank you, World Cup!
Pavel Nikiforov, reporter: «Sergey Donatovich, you were the one who immortalized these words - football and ice hockey are a substitute for religion to the Soviet people. There’s only one rival to these two in terms of emotional effect - alcohol. Could you have imagined that in 2018 football would overtake hockey, and you would be standing on the main bar street in St. Petersburg - the Rubinstein street!»
Never-ending festival in the main streets of Russian cities - from St. Petersburg to Kazan. Some thought of this as a Brazilian carnival, some equated to Victory Day. But it was neither - it was the World Cup. And it has definitely changed us - just like 1957 Festival and 1980 Olympics. And our genetic fund has changed too.
St. Petersburg has once again become the most popular tourist destination in Russia. Even if a team didn’t play in our city, its fans still came here to see the city with their own eyes. Including from the water. By the way, the majority among visitors belongs to the Chinese and the Americans. And who cares that their teams were not even participating on the tournament?
Pavel Nikiforov, reporter: «But the main achievement of the World Cup is infrastructure. And im not even talking about roads, bridges and airports. But about modern stadiums. And if we continue filling them to full capacity after the Final, then the World Cup would not be an accomplishment - but, rather, a beginning».
The World Cup gave us an opportunity for renewal. And we seized it. We renewed mentally, emotionally, infrastructure-wise. The main thing now is to make it all last.