Bring the noise: Russia gears up for World Cup swansong

While there is an air of expectancy over the final, there’s also a melancholia over the World Cup coming to an end.

France fans sing songs at the Red Square in Moscow on July 14, 2018 on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia.   -  AFP

It is going to be a World Cup final between two very unlikely sides – France and Croatia – after many a heavyweight team fell by the wayside. In this World Cup of upsets and European domination, the two finalists have played very dissimilar brands of football. Yet, they are here, with possibly just 90 minutes separating them from the trophy, which only eight nations in the past have claimed as theirs.

The streets around Moscow’s Red Square bustled with people on the last Saturday of this World Cup, with Croatians in large numbers pitching their tents in many of the breweries and cafes that dotted the city centre’s cobbled streets – creating a din that the penultimate day of a World Cup deserves. The French were there, too, but they were more reserved, more quiet, forever keeping their emotions under wrap.

Match Preview: WC final: France out to claim second title, Croatia looks to create history

“It’s been a crazy ride and we can’t believe we are here. Our players are already champions and we will shout ourselves hoarse tomorrow at the ground,” a Croatian fan said, even as many locals thronged to click a picture with his colourful band of travelling supporters.

The atmosphere was electrifying for the first few weeks of the tournament, with the South American fans – Argentine, Brazilian and Colombian – creating the maximum noise, with their different and creative chants. The departure of these nations has definitely robbed the final stage of this championship of some life as those present here have failed to match Latin America’s love for life and football.

While there is an air of expectancy over the final, there’s also a melancholia that had earlier been witnessed in Samara, Kazan and elsewhere on the days they hosted their last World Cup match. The 11 cities have been prefect hosts, celebrating the carnival of football with the visitors from around the world. The end, they feel, is coming to soon and everyone will miss the World Cup atmosphere.

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