I have never been a massive football fan, neither have I supported a particular team. However, in the last month, a lot of Russians, including myself have fallen in love with football. It happened mainly due to the celebratory environment and cheerful mood, as well as the success of the Russian football team. The first live match that I have ever attended in my life was Russia versus Spain. I was so incredibly happy with the outcome of the game.

I lived in Russia for 25 years and for the first time I have seen such an incredible atmosphere of triumph and the unity of Russian people, especially after they have defeated Spain.

The Russian team was my favourite, as it is truly excellent and strong. I got rather upset when it left the World Cup, as I wished it had made it to the semi-final.

The teams of Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Germany and of course Russia were the favourites of the competition. Their supporters have been creating the celebratory mood on the streets of Moscow and have been investing money into the income of restaurants, cafes and travel agencies. However, all these teams left the World Cup before the semi-finals.

The teams who made it to the semi-finals were quiet on the festivities side; neither have they obtained many fans, nor contributed to the overall atmosphere of the celebration. How is that even fair?

England, France, Belgium and Croatia are the countries with the lowest fan involvement. For me, someone who enjoys the incredible atmosphere of the celebration, these teams should have left among the first!

Strangely, even France has lacked the fan numbers in the course of the World Cup. During France’s last victorious game, its fan base was outnumbered by its opponent’s – Croatia, by at least twenty times.

The last week of the World Cup was not as vibrant and lively as the first week when the streets of Moscow turned into the places of fan gatherings. The lack of the unforgettable energy from the Latin American supporters was quickly noticed.

Regardless of the outcome, it was a fantastic event that celebrated football and the triumph of the nation. My colleagues from HoReCa – the hospitality based industry, have boosted their income due to establishments getting booked out rapidly. It was impossible to book a table or hotel room in a lot of places during the time of the World Cup.

My company, just like many others, have massively contributed to the organisation of the World Cup. As a gesture of support, the company has launched bonus cards for guests that let them skip the lines into Russia’s top-rated venues. PARTYPASS cards ensure free entries to many events, and offer various gifts, bonuses and discounts. The cards have become a real gem for the overseas tourists and the Russian citizens.

Louis Gouend