Moscow celebrates grand opening for the World Cup

The FIFA World Cup 2018 had a grand opening in Moscow, proving that Russia is more than prepared for the sports events
Moscow celebrates grand opening for the World Cup
Everything works with a Russian discipline and order that becomes evident upon arrival to the country - Photo: Felipe Dana/AP
15/06/2018
13:35
Gerardo Velázquez de León
Mexico City
“Merits of the case” is an Opinion Sports Editorial by Gerardo Velázquez de León
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When Russia won the bid for the World Cup 2018, which started yesterday, an upheaval began in the world of football. No one could have imagined that on 2 December 2010, when FIFA first announced the countries that would host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, corrupt activities by members of FIFA would be uncovered and persecuted.

Today, now that many of those responsible have been detained, others have ended up dead, and a few still roam free, especially in the offices of Miami and Asunción, Russia has proven ready to host the 21st World Cup with a grand opening ceremony in the mythical and ancient Luzhniki stadium, which takes its name from the neighborhood where the complex was built. The building was an inherent part of the 1980 Olympics.

Moscow is celebrating: Today, in contrast to the organization of their last grand sports event in 1980, Russia has changed. They are now a free country in constant movement, with an intense nightlife, a first-rate gastronomy, fashion, international cars, and economic splendor, while still keeping some symbols from the 79-year-long regime.

Moscow is a spectacular city, though with heavy transit during rush hours, in spite of its broad and modern streets. This city has proven to be prepared for the World Cup, but it’s still far from opening to the world. English is spoken in very few places, but it’s no big deal since there’s always someone willing to help.

During our tour through the Luzhniki stadium, we realized that there was still a lot of work to be done, especially in the stadium’s proximity, where preparations are still being made. They still have to put up the stands from official sponsors, but in the stadium’s interior, everything works with a Russian discipline and order that becomes evident upon arrival to the country.

The FIFA World Cup 2018 will be well guarded, and tourists will suffer consequences if rules are not obeyed. The police don’t joke around, and they don’t care if you have a FanID, media permits, or FIFA credentials. In this country, order must be maintained.

We saw the dress rehearsal for Germany vs. Mexico, observing the protocols and shots from TV cameras, which was exciting. Although hearing national anthems seems to me like an archaic act and somewhat out of context in sports, hearing them echo through the stadium where the opening ceremony was held was nothing short of extraordinary.

And thus, the FIFA World Cup 2018 begins in Russia, with a media and TV coverage that has never been seen before, in real-time platforms that will allow fans to find out what happens firsthand without having to turn on their television.
 

English version by David Morales
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