The Fan Fest on Day #3 made me sleep very late. It was 4am but the sky was clear enough to see the other side of Baumanskaya Street where I lodged. Too lazy to start the day early, I had breakfast by 3pm and missed my daily attendance at KFC.
I wasn’t going to miss my World Cup debut. I was one of the 78,011 spectators that watched as Croatia defeated England 2-1 to reach the final.
The Metro to the stadium for the game was filled and packed like sardine with the English fans singing and getting all the attention. The 15 minutes walk from the Sportivnaya Station to the stadium had fans building momentum for the game. The English were noisier with chants while the Croats had music and dance.
If I wasn’t sure who I was supporting, seeing the beautiful Croat ladies dance just outside the stadium stamped my choice. Go Croatia! Tame the Three Cubs!!
Gavin was to watch with me. He is English. I was worried about how he would feel when he discovers I am supporting the his opposition. Luckily, he opted to stay with the English fans behind the goal post on the other side of the stadium.
The stadium was all about “It’s coming home” by the English fans. I thought it was just on social media but no, they have a song about it. The song was played in the Stadium.
5 minutes into the game, it looked like the English dream would come to pass. Kieran Trippier’s free kick beat Subosic to give England the lead. They had the tempo but couldn’t score another.
Peter Drury: England 5th minute goal commentary!
Glorious Glorious England goal, picture perfect. England in their immaculate white has made an immaculate start. Subosic was crawling at air, Southgate punching the air and England can wish the remaining 85 minutes can vanish into thin air.
Ivan Perisic silenced the English noise of “Coming Home” with his 68th minute goal. 4 minutes later, his shot hit the post to deny Croatia and their beautiful president a 2-1 lead within the 90 minutes.
Croatia and Extra Time are like twins in the 2018 World Cup. They are the masters of extra time and they quenched the English hope when Perisic assisted Mandzukic for the winner in the 109th minute.
The Lions have been turned to toothless cubs. They even finished with 10 men after Trippier was too hurt to continue. You could feel the anger and disappointment from the English fans. They disappeared like Oxygen gas in air. Gavin was not happy and it would affect my economics.
I waited behind with Emeka, celebrated with the Croatian fans, took pictures. I lost my voice shouting for the two goals. Emeka had a plate of rice for me in his apartment before I headed to my abode. My Yandex Metro app informed me that the metro was closed, so i made my debut on the bus – H3.
Happy Croats – they kept singing and jubilating. From the stadium, walking to the train stations, during the train ride and everywhere else. Sorry Cubs. What is coming home? Bronze or nothing? England will fight that out with Belgium in St. Petersburg.
I had souvenirs from the FIFA sponsors – the official match cups from Coca Cola and Budweiser, other stuffs from Hisense. I couldn’t purchase jerseys at the Fan Shop – expensive.
I also met Robbie from the Arsenal Fan TV. He didn’t look happy but he forced a smile to have a picture with me. Hope he doesn’t transfer the anger on Unai Emery.
No pressure today. No noise today. A long sleep is needed. Tomorrow.