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World Cup through the children’s eyes

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This is how a daughter of our colleague returned from the fan-zone after Russia-Croatia game. Even a chocolate bar she kept in her mouth could not console her. The tournament became an interactive summer spectacle, generating life-long emotions - even though some of those were not too pleasant. The World Cup has already influenced an entire generation of Russian children. For the first time in their lives they saw so many foreigners in our streets - and thus became more open. Their parents used to play war in the backyards when they were children, but just recently couldn’t take gadgets away from their kids. Now, almost every backyard hosts an impromptu football cup.

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Around a thousand children train at Nevskliy Front football school. Tournaments among orphanages are held here - a giant Zabivaka will be the top prize at the next one. Children with limited abilities, like deaf-mute ones, are training here too. Misha’s father - member of Zenit fans’ deaf-mute group - follows his son’s play. He was born healthy and now helps his father to communicate with other people.
Instead of spending his summer at his country house, Misha Tepin trains harder than during a regular school year. He won the FIFA children contest and got the right of carrying the ball at the Russia - Egypt game. On the day, he went through rehearsals, talks with players from both teams and even master classes with World football stars.

To participate in the contest, Misha’s parents wrote an essay telling that their child had eyesight problems which made his football training impossible, but only one professor found a solution. Now, Misha is always with the ball and even runs a sports blog. Together with his trainer, he learns dribbles which he sees in matches.

Misha’s mother was particularly impressed with the atmosphere at the game, which turned a nervous day into a real holiday. They are still re-living the tournament’s brightest moments. Which may not have influenced the fate yet, but definitely impacted their way of thinking.

Even children who have not been into football know the names of the players and how they act on the pitch. And even organize flashmob parodies of Neymar’s trademark rolls.

These boys train at a pitch where 70 thousand children run annually, so it has worn out over a decade. But recently it became known that 5 new children training centers will be built in St. Petersburg after the World Cup. This school will be part of a modern training complex.

Evgeniya Altfeld, reporter: «Rooms of our children will long remind of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This is how my son’s bedroom looks like. A Brazilian flag on the wall - gifted by a Brazil fan in the streets. Right next to tickets to Brazil - Costa-Rica game and fan ID».

A whole generation of children will forever remember this feast of football. Some took away a feeling of happiness, some - new targets and self-belief. Like the 10-year-old Misha, who trains in football despite what doctors said - and even took part in the actual World Cup.

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