This is the LONGEST post, so if you’re not into Soccer, maybe just cruise through the pictures, haha. I’ll be recapping the games I saw, as well as some points on what I did and didn’t like about the set up.
Russia vs Egypt – Category 1 Seating
One of the better matches to be in the crowd, the warm and friendly Russians, who mistook us for one of their own and then loved it even more when they found out we were Australian. The seating was fantastic and it was an awesome first match for Matt and I!
Brazil vs Costa Rica – Category 1 Seating
Surprisingly, the crowd wasn’t as passionate as I thought they would be. Additionally, lots of diving by the teams made the game a bit of a bore to watch. Our seats were pretty average too, considering they were category 1. Full field views though!
Germany vs Sweden – Category 1 seating.
HUGE GRIPE: we were made late by our S7 flights, arrived at the stadium by excellent bus shuttle service, 15 mins to spare, only to be let down by the volunteers/signage to get into the stadium. At the stadium it was 15mins till game kick off, and do you think there was ANYONE who could tell us how to actually get into the stadium? We spend a good 10 mins panicking, walking in circles trying to figure out how to get it in. Once we were in stadium grounds, it was about a 1.5km walk to the stadium. A guy told us to jump on his golf buggy and he’d take us there…. and then proceeded to charge us 100 rubles each.
Once we got to the front door we ran to our seats and arrived 3 mins into the game. That said, it was the best game we seen; the Sweden crowd were epic chanters. I was going for Germany, but it was impossible to not get on their side! It was just the best experience seeing the best teams in the world. You could definitely see the skill difference when they played… lol Germany is out now.
Australia vs Peru – Category 1 seating
Peruvians are freaking lovely people. All I learnt from this game is that Australia still isn’t great at football, and I want to go to Peru to be surrounded by lovely Peruvians again. The Australian supporters were out numbered 10 to 1. We got sucky seats, in the middle of a heap of Peruvians (no offence, but we wanted to be with the Australian cheer squad). We saw that there were heaps of empty seats in the Aussie section, so we moved at half time to an Aussie section, where someone who organised the family tickets gave us some spare ones. People are awesome sometimes.
Brazil vs Serbia – Category 2 seating
Okay, I don’t understand the seating categories at all, because these seats were fantastic. Also, it was the best game we had seen so far, in regards to crowd passion, player skill and just overall atmosphere.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
At no point during any World Cup match did I feel unsafe. There were large amounts of security… like army security. They took our safety very seriously. I was very comforted by this.
Same goes for Russia in general. There was a lot of talk about how “unsafe” Russia was. Russians are lovely; repeat LOVELY. They’ve perfected the art of the resting bitch face, but as soon as you engage in conversation, they’ll go out of their way to help in any way they can. My only disappointment was that I didn’t see Putin.
The people were awesome. There was no rivalry (except maybe the Brazilians singing “Messi Ciao”) and only ever smiles, high fives and cheers for supporters, no matter who you supported. But especially if you’re from Australia. Everyone loves Australians.
Upon entering Russia, Matt was held at passport control for 30 mins due to a Fan ID error. A lot of people had this problem. MY problem was that he went through after me, and just never popped out the other side. I was sweating bullets, wondering what happened.
I have no idea how the seating categorisation worked. Next time (and I feel that there will be a next time) we won’t be getting category 1 seating (the most expensive) because the best seats we got this time were out category 2 tickets. To be honest, I think it was just pot luck.
FIFA. What the fuck is with the plastic? You opened a can of beer to put in a plastic cup. When you got a second beer, you wouldn’t let me reuse my plastic cup. When I got a bottle of water, you put a plastic bottle of water inside a plastic cup. I wasn’t allowed to refuse the cup. I wasn’t allowed to reuse the cup. What the fuck is the point of the cups. It was really upsetting.
Also upsetting: Budweiser was the only beer available. Bud is so bad. So, so bad. Why not offer a Russian beer??
All this said and done, 10 out of 10 would definitely go again. Now with all this new found knowledge, I’ll start researching Qatar.
Oh, I almost forgot. The very best thing was that I got onto TV multiple times. I’m basically famous now.