(5) I’m not sure what I’m doing here (#WorldCup 2018) – watching football with the Russian supporters

Russia-Egypt Volgograd 618.JPG

Yesterday in the hot night I sat outside a bar in the centre, watching the Russia-Egypt game with people from Volgograd. They were happy to include me. Mostly men, some women too. One man wore a CCCP shirt.

I listened to the chants.The women didn’t join in. The basic Russian chant (RASS – EE – YA, all on one low note) is quite daunting. The men sang out for Rotor Volgograd, too, and once for Mo Salah (perhaps some have Liverpool as their Premier League team). There was also a song in English:

Oh oh oh
We’re the fans of RUSSIA
Oh oh oh
Drinking all the VODKA
Oh oh oh
We are going all the way

goal Russia-Egypt Volgograd 618.JPG

During the second half I got a text saying that a big piece of work in Brussels finally came off. I had a gin and tonic in celebration even though I couldn’t explain why.

I told them I was English. There was no evidence of anyone saying, Shall we biff him then? The thing I had to resist was too much pizza thrust on me by Dima, who I was sharing a table with.

On the walk home I passed a couple of fans who were a bit drunker, one said something about “tourist”. I turned round and talked to them, he said sorry and I congratulated them on Russia’s three goals.

Earlier I visited the museum of the battle of Stalingrad. Not sure if it was appropriate, I asked a group of Germans nearby what it is like to come here. We’ve come on purpose, an older one said – our next game is in Sochi. It is complicated.

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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