FIFA World Cup in Russia has already attracted over five million tourists for the games across 11 cities and 12 stadiums. In spite of a language barrier and Russia not a predominantly English speaking nation, the World Cup this year has been an unparalleled, pleasant experience for football fans, unlike the previous two editions which were marred by commotions on the road and various other issues.
The World Cup 2018 in Russia has reached the much-awaited semi-finals – the first scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) between France and Belgium. This has been a World Cup of inglorious certainties, underdogs, upsets, controversies, near misses, eye-catching goals, late goals, stoppage time goals etc. The list, in fact, keeps on adding up as the day of the finals on July 15 is nearing.
Contrary to the pre-tournament fears, the hosts have created a magic with their warmth and hospitality. Even as the Russian edition of the quadrennial football gala laid its foundation with host selection controversies and rising geo-political tensions after double agent Skripal’s murder, it is tipped to be among the best organised Worlds Cup in the history of football.
From the group stage matches to the quarterfinals, the World Cup fever has gripped football lovers around the world as they experience raging emotions fuelled by a combine of recurrent heart-stopping and pulsating moments.
InsideSport.co brings to its reader a compilation of the facts which prove that Russia will go a long way in the history of football as among the best FIFA World Cup hosts.
Trouble free – from streets to stadiums
In sharp contrast to the 2014 edition in Brazil, which saw grave issues ranging from massive protests, rioting, hooliganism and stadium breaches, Russian authorities have assured the excitement and the World Cup fever go hand in hand with peace. Even when Russian football fans, notorious for rioting and hooliganism, have behaved like a good host.
The streets around the venues have turned into a melting pot of cultures with buzzing fans from around the world coming out with their national flags, whistles, drums, vuvuzelas, trumpets, chanting songs and getting their face painted and tattooed. All thanks to a significant level of security measures in the host cities by the Russian authorities.
No travelling woes
The hosts have been striving hard to leave no stones unturned for providing best fan experience to the visiting football lovers. The 12 scattered and nucleated venue stadiums across the country are well connected with a network of railways and air travel. The hosts have added 734 free intercity trains for the World Cup and made the public transport free on matchdays for those holding a ticket.
The introduction of Fan ID at FIFA World Cup 2018 played a major role in enforcing strict security measures and seamless entry and exits at the stadiums. After successfully testing the innovation during the 2017 Confederations Cup, the host organisation put the system in place to control admittance to the stadiums and also serve as a visa-free entry for foreign visitors.
A Fan-ID holder is allowed to enter the country without having a Russian visa and stay for the duration of the World Cup as well as to travel free of charge between the Russian cities, playing host to the FIFA World Cup 2018 matches. This unprecedented move in the history of the World Cup has allowed fans travel to and stay in Russia in ahassle-freee fun-filled experience.
Overcoming language barriers
The non-English speaking nation went on a step ahead to ensure that the language barriers are kept to the lowest. Signs at the major train and metro stations including tourist hotspots have been printed in both Russian and English, especially for the month long football feast. The announcements inside the metro trains and stations are being made in English, too.
A traveller’s paradise
Russia has for long been rated among the best tourists hotspots around the world. With the World Cup celebrations reaching its peak, Russia has already decorated itself with extra glitters for being a travellers’ paradise. The nation has it all for a tourist – from beautiful sites, to museums, cathedrals, art galleries, shopping areas, and traditional markets. Fans are also being treated to impeccable hospitality in Russia with some of the best night clubs and restaurants that serve authentic and scrumptious cuisines from around the world.