(3 minutes read)
Champions du monde! On Sunday, July 15th, 2018, the young Frenchmen soccer team wrote history winning the World Championship in Russia. Every four years, soccer fans follow this epic competition worldwide. Among them, Angelinos and LA travelers rooting this year for surrogate teams or underdogs as the USA didn’t qualify. Bilda, Anton, Karen, Roland, and Mathieu – to name a few of them – followed intensively this tournament. Between surprises, deceptions, and faith, they all pictured their teams brandishing the ultimate trophy: the FIFA World Cup.
A pinch of History
- The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was created on May, 21st 1904.
- The 1st FIFA World Cup ™ was staging in Uruguay on July 1930.
- Brazil records the most victories winning five World Cup and highest participation (20 times!)
- In 2006, the FIFA “Big Count” established that more than 265 million people play soccer worldwide including 26 million women.
Here is part series 2 of 3: Anton for team Russia
Born in Russia and raised in the US, Anton was thrilled that his native country hosts this 2018 World Cup. He started watching soccer 20 years ago, mainly international tournaments.
During this World Cup, Anton regularly communicated with his family in Russia to share the inside view of the competition. They were pleased when Russia won their first game and as the competition went on cities were packed with supporters. For the anecdote, one night, one of the hosting city ran out of beer!
Well organized, this event placed the country under worldwide projectors and contributed to its highlight. One regret tough for Anton is that the US T.V didn’t show a lot of hosting cities before or after the games. It would have been interesting to discover and share the behind the scene with people history, historic places, culture, and more.
Russia vs Spain (round of 15) was the game Anton enjoyed the most. Russia challenged Spain, former World, and European champion. Anton watched this game with his fiancé, Mari, who was rooting for Spain. Confidence from Spanish supporters decreased as excitement rose for Russian supporters. After 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time, teams tied 1-1 leading to penalty kicks. One of the most stressful and tense experiences for soccer players and supporters. Russia finally scored 4 shootouts and eliminated Spain from the tournament. As Cherchesov, the coach of Russia’s World Cup team mentioned before this game « Anyone can be a god if he tries.”
At each stage of the competition, the Russian team challenges the prognosis. As many supporters at the beginning of the tournament, Anton hoped for one winning game, only one. Indeed, Russia was not the highest-ranked team, however, they go beyond, surpassed and crushed expectations. Russia not only exited their group but also defied major teams. They sent South Arabia, Egypt, Spain packing and humbly resisted against Croatia until the penalty kicks.