Russia reacts to hosting the World Cup with joy & sorrowBy: Stanislav Rynkevich | December 7th, 2010
As FIFA president Sepp Blatter was opening the cover, people from all over the biggest country on Earth hold their breath. It could be the first time for Eastern Europe to hold such big football event. Just 4 years after the Olympics. «Russia» was written on the unraveled list. Shouts of joy and happiness filled the conference room, and somewhere far away from Switzerland people were congratulating each other. But as every coin has two sides, this victory found it’s own difficulties.
«This is a present that was given not for previous successes and not as a reward for contribution to football history. This present is undeserved in many ways, unexpected and because of that, generously pleasant», wrote Evgeny Dzichkovsky in central Russian sports newspaper «Sport-Express». «I want to say thank you, and I know to whom. But I can’t figure out – for what. We got no idea what we’ve been put into. It’s very difficult to steal an elephant because you can’t hide him. Even more difficult to get World Cup when all you have is passion for it and, well, money. You can’t hold World Cup for a moment to think about. You have to organize it».
«Undeserved» was the key word at Russian blogosphere that week. Only one complete stadium («Luzhniki» that held Champions League final), bizarre infrastructure and 8 years left. Good question was – what would Saransk and Podolsk do with 40,000 capacity stadiums after the World Cup? There are no premier league teams in those cities. Although even the most popular team in Russia – Spartak Moscow – attracts a little more than 20,000 in average.
«You play football at stadiums, just so you know, and we have only one stadium of this level so far. We must rebuild it or start from scratch in 8 years», added radio «Echo of Moscow» observer Anton Orech. «On the other hand, if there wasn’t a World Cup we would never build it in 80 years. And we are forced to do it. And I’m sure that we will because heroic rush is a part of our lifestyle». You can imagine a picture of NFL running back rushing to the opponent’s end zone at the very last minute, and on the shirt of this guy there’s a sign: «I gave Putin my word». That’s pretty much the picture of Russia preparing for World Cup 2018.
The speech of Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko became hugely popular at his homeland because of Mutko’s very strong stereotypical accent. It sounded as he was inspired by every single bad Hollywood action movie. Arnold Schwarznegger who said famous line «kakie vashi dokozatelstva?» («what are your proofs?» but this doesn’t make sense in Russian due to it’s structure) in «Red Heat» was revenged by Vitaly Mutko and the message «from his heart». Suddenly a DJ mix of his speech appeared and don’t get me started on all the Photoshop things.
Hosting the World Cup is very different from playing the World Cup. Because a football team works hard at first and that leads to victory. And football country wins at first and that leads to hard work. Russia has just sensed that feeling.