So the post-European week is left behind, and now about the 2018 World Cup, which Samara was lucky to accept, they only remind of small trifles that will disappear over time. You walk through the city and come across a banner that has not yet been dismantled for the shuttle stop to the stadium and signs to the fan zone. It’s like, after the new year, you accidentally look under the bed and find there a tangerine from a gift rolled up or a Christmas tree toy. But the new year has a place to repeat itself once every 365 days, but the 2018 World Cup does not. For Samara, for sure. No, maybe Russia will be lucky to host such a grandiose sports event someday. In 30-50 years, or even 100 years later. A month of unbridled fun flew by inexorably fast.
Crowds of foreigners in the streets, general fraternization, massive patrols ensuring the safety of everyone and everything, no fights, scandals and conflicts. Regular trips to the fan zone, and if you’re lucky, even to the stadium. I was lucky enough to attend two matches out of six. And then FIFA just cleared the clearing from the regional media. Did you go to the first match? Have you looked at the game of the Russian national team? Well, that’s enough for you. However, I am not offended. At the stadium, as a journalist and head of the media, in fact, I was blind and deaf. You couldn’t make broadcasts, you couldn’t take pictures, and much more was impossible. Just sit in the podium and yell? This is not for me. I’m not that crazy football fan after all. And just – not a fan. It was much more interesting for me in the city, where the atmosphere was not as hot as in the stadium. And there was no lawlessness in the form of beer at 350 rubles per half liter. It was just interesting to observe foreigners, communicate whenever possible, suggest where to go, how to get and what to see, take pictures, hug and exchange souvenirs.
We can say that in fact the holiday in Samara ended on July 7 after the 6th and last match at our stadium, in which the national teams of Sweden and England met. Yes, there was one more full week before the end of the 2018 World Cup. Yes, in Samara one could still observe foreign fans, who were getting smaller day by day, because everyone was trying to get to Moscow for the final. And then the moment came when the curtain fell, the artists dispersed, and almost all the cities where the matches were held, powerful downpours fell, as if nature itself was trying to wash away the traces of foreign guests in provincial and not so cities. In some places, nature has tried to wash away even stadiums.
And now, since Monday, July 16, in Samara, one could observe some lost and wilted citizens. They realized that the holiday was over, but they just didn’t want to believe it. Many wandered through the at once deserted streets, stumbled upon numerous closed cafes, which now may not open. We were looking in the sky for a futuristic airship, which had previously hovered over the city, which had long been blown away and removed to the hangar. Everything disappeared. And foreign speech disappeared from the streets of the city. There was only longing and somewhere even hopelessness. We were lucky to “bite off” this celebration of life, extravaganza and unrestrained fun. They were replaced by a hangover and the realization that we must continue to live on, return to everyday routine affairs, go to work, listen to the pre-election ravings of local politicians. True, we still have a stadium. Time will tell how much it will be in demand. And already now, many are looking forward to July 31, when the Samara Arena will no longer host the 2018 World Cup match, but still a full-fledged football match of the Wings of the Soviets team, which managed to break out in the RFPL. And it will become, albeit small, an echo of the World Championship. And I want to believe that some bright sporting event will take place in Samara. Even if not so large-scale, but still. And I want to believe in it and wait.