Day #8

It was all about the biggest match of the 2018 World Cup – The Final Match. Match 64 was between France, one of the favourites from the onset, and Croatia, one of the dark horses.

Nobody expected Croatia to get to the final. The bookmarkers had Germany, Brazil, Belgium or Argentina to be there. Croatia defied the odds, overcame England in the semis to face France at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

After sorting out accomodation issues with Emeka and the receptionist, we slept for like 2 hours before heading to the FIFA Fan Fest. The trek from Universitet Station to the Fan Fest was long. The regular entrance was blocked. The ushered route was longer and tiring. My legs ache but we made it to the fans.

Watching with the fans, I met a dutch couple – he had a South African jersey on. There was a group of 4 Russians – filled with Budweiser alcohol and on the verge of being drunk. The Fan Fest was filled to the brim and overflowing. Fans from all over the world.

Greizmann’s freekick was deflected in by Mandzukic, Perisic equalized but gave away a penalty with a handball in the box. VAR was called upon and Greizmann converted. The wait was long but the decision was understood.

At halftime, I had a chat with an old Russian. He has been to London and a lot of European cities. He shares the same sentiment that the Russian language was difficult to learn especially with a different lettering compared to English.

The goals came pouring in the second half while the clouds grew pregnant by the minutes. Goals from Pogba and Mbappe sealed Croatia’s fate. Mandzukic goal from Lloris’ howler in the 69th minute gave Croatia a lifeline but the reign of France was sealed with the full time whistle.

For the second time in history, France will reign as World Cup champions for at least 4.5 years seeing that the next World Cup will be start in November and end in December 2022. Croatia’s regular comebacks were reined. They had presidential hugs for coming second best.

Just after the whistle, the rains came down, mimicking Jon Snow’s victory in the Battle of the Bastards. It was a sign of victory and I tapped into anointing, drenched from head to toe. My shoes were heavy but the joy of victory made them light. My ticket was ruined but my day was not.

Attempts to get back to the stadium were unsuccessful. The Police prevented exits from stations around the stadium. I used Line 14 for the first time. It was fluffy and cool. The line goes round Moscow in a circle. Beautiful. I met Danil and another young Russian who offered to help with my bus/train changes.

I got to Bayamanska and quickly got a cone of ice cream from KFC to top of the victory. Wet and drenched, a hot shower followed before a light meal and a tired sleep.

France reign, Croatia reined and the Moscow rain summed it up.

иметь прекрасный день