The World Cup has just started, but fans around the world have already had the opportunity to feel the hospitality and kindness of the Russians.
Russians hooligans, lack of security, uncontrolled police … These and many others have been myths imposed by Western media over the past year. These, it seems, were intended to prevent the 2018 World Cup success in Russia through this strange form of intimidation. Well, the best way to find out the truth is to talk to the real fans who had the “courage” to travel to Mother Russia. That’s what happened – check it out!
The first group Brazilian journalists met wwere Portuguese in one of Sochi’s most enigmatic bars. Carlos, Manuel and Madalena came from Lisbon, renting a car on arrival, and plan to travel all over the country during the World Cup.
“Let’s travel to all the cities of Russia. Now we go to Rostov,” says Carlos. “[The city is] very friendly and the people are nice too,” says Madalena smilingly as she delights in one of the typical local dishes and a glass of fresh beer.
The food, however, seemed very different from what they are accustomed to – because “there is no fish, the exception is the salmon”, says Manuel. But one of the purposes of traveling is precisely to experience new things, is not it?
When answering the question about the precautions and doubts that they could have had before going to Russia, Carlos said that he had no worries because he experienced Russia during the Confederations Cup, and “everything was very quiet”.
“We ride with a car, we have a car to go around, to Moscow, we go from one city to another … We are less afraid here than in Brazil, I felt more insecurity in Brazil. [Russia] is a beautiful country,” he said.
“In coming for the first time… I was a little anxious, everyone was saying: watch out for the Russians,” he laughs, as if surprised by the fact that the expectation was different of reality. Now, he says, he is feeling very “cool” and enjoying his time.
Barbecue ‘at the level of the Brazilians’
The Portuguese who came to Russia through the company RAX ended up being one of the “stars” of the night on June 15 in Sochi. Dressed in national team shirts, with flags and songs, they could not escape countless requests for selfies in front of Fisht Stadium.
“I’ve been successful, we’ve never taken so many photos,” smiles Carlos, “attacked” on all sides in the midst of dances and celebrations from around the world.
Being asked if he has met the mysterious Russian hooligans or if he felt some insecurity when he arrived, the supporter said:
“No, there was not any of that, but we can not understand anything they say [laughing] … it’s fantastic, very hospitable, a fantastic people!”
He acknowledges, however, that small problems happen: one is communication. According to several supporters we’ve spoken to, not all hotel staff have impeccable English.
“But anyway, everything worked out, it’s very quiet,” adds Carlos.
One of the “surprises” for the galley of Portugal was, in fact, the southern Russian food. Although not as much fish and seafood as the Portuguese gastronomy, it is a region widely known for its famous meat dishes.
“The food is fabulous, I do not know the name of it, but it’s a spectacular barbecue, Brazilian level, and very economical!”.
Other Portuguese talked about their safety too.
“We are tough, we are 12 people, from Guimarães, Braga and Ovar,” says Henrique, hurrying to enter the stadium and see Cristiano Ronaldo in action. “It’s all great … There was nothing so far, all right, everything quiet, the Russian people are very nice even though they do not speak English.”
“The food is different, little fish, but it’s also Black Sea, there’s no [ocean] water fish,” he added.
The journalists found another group of “Portugal” fans in a little bar near the Fisht – Fernando, Francisco and Miguel.
“We arrived a little bit ago, actually I arrived in Moscow the day before yesterday, and I’m very impressed, very well organized, the language is very difficult, you can not tell a thing, neither the language nor the letters, but everything is fine,” assured Fernando.
“The Russians are beautiful!” Shouts Miguel, looking at a blonde who passes next to them.
“And even the Russian security is very discreet, because we have not seen anything yet. We knew that they should be around, but we did not see anything at all,” Fernando said.
‘Sochi is the best place’
It was not only the inhabitants of the land of Camões who cheered for the Portuguese team. Many Brazilians took advantage of the event to set up their own show and confessed to supporting Portuguese people in the stands.
“Sochi is the best place I’ve been to – Moscow is cold and rainy, Sochi is the best best place, beach … Although the city is smaller,” says Gabriel from Belo Horizonte in inland Brazil.
“Everyone who knows a language, English or Spanish, does not have a problem, but we felt some difficulty with your language, but always with a good face, never had a problem,” he said.