Blood, perspire and beers: Russia down but proud after World Cup exit

Category: Beer Humor
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Russias tournament is over after overcome by Croatia on disadvantages but appreciation for a team who shattered all possibilities survives

Before football comes home, it had to stop by the beach. Russia fans had one last chance on Sunday night to bask a squad that had already smashed all their expectancies for this tournament. And they did it again in a bittersweet valedictory in Vladimir Putin’s dream city by the sea.

All the best stories are comings-of-age, and Russia seemed to grow with each equal, learning a sceptical public that it was OK to believe again, that they wouldn’t unexpectedly flusters them, that this time things would be different.

It left pretty much everyone here questioning the same question: where on earth did this surface received from? Pressing a more gifted Croatia squad, region in sublime curlers from 25 grounds , nodding in equalisers in the 115 th instant?

” Guys! I am proud of you! I love you! Savour this moment !” hollered striker Artem Dzyuba in a fiery communication that mirrored a nation’s spirits just before Russia went out on penalty kicks.

Long before that instant, high up in the stands, fans were starting to believe too.

” Cheryshev hit that one like Ronaldo !” said Semyon, 23, who was still marvelling over the left winger’s wonder-strike as he grabbed snacks at half-time.” Oh my God, could you see he could do that ?”

” I consider England must be worried about facing us ,” said Anton Sashnikov, planning for the semi-final friction that is likely wasn’t to be.” Our guys are playing with ferocity, they actually want to acquire. I don’t think that England will be able to keep up .”

There is more in common between the England and Russia fan than either would like to admit, a complex that comes down to the simple impression that somebody at some time is going to lose his follower or shank a penalty. Both have found redemption in this year’s World Cup.

” And from there it’s just one more competitor and we are the champions ,” Sashnikov said and he smiled, as though daring a reporter to tell him that wasn’t likely.

Saturday’s match was the reason many parties bother goes to football. If you gazed up the Fifa positions, there was no question who should have won. But eventually it came down to an issue of slight slants and scoots of momentum, and the tears that came after Russia’s heartbreaking loss were more about annoyance than condemnation.

Russia’s Mario Fernandes leaders back towards his teammates after missing in the shootout. Photo: Michael Regan/ Fifa via Getty Images

” If Modric’s penalty had just gone a few centimetres further out ,” one devotee cried as he went down the steps, listing off a series of other counterfactuals that could have given Russia the win.

Not all fairytales have joyous endings.

Across Russia, fans parcelled tables, taverns and the World Cup fan zones to watch the team’s unlikely push to construct the semi-final. In Samara, where earlier England had trounced Sweden to provide the opposition for the recipients of Russia v Croatia, the vast fanzone was closed as it was full to capability, and gathering spilled out of restaurants and bars with screens, hopeless to catch a glimpse of the action.

At Na Dne, a beer auditorium near the banks of the Volga, the inside was carried and sweaty, and a hundred-strong gang jostled for location outside to see through the grimy windows, applauding on their squad. After Cheryshev’s early aim, one soul fell to the ground and screamed,” Stanislav, I’m sorry I disbelieved you ,” referring to the widespread pre-tournament disdain for coach Stanislav Cherchesov. There were panoramas of exultation as the unexpected extra-time equaliser was scored, and groups of men flung their brews in the air and screamed with excitement.

But after Croatia dominated on sanctions, there was a shocked silence, and beings began to file home, quietened and depressed.

Outside the stadium in Sochi, there was something like a talk.” Smolov is a jackass !” shrieked one adolescent.” Hey, don’t affliction our guys, they made it their all tonight ,” a middle-aged male with a ponytail said and continues on his way.” Igor Igor Akinfeev! Oh !” another man wails.” Igor, come here I’d like to have a word with you ,” howled the status of women, playing the disappointed wife, swaying down the street in ends. Her acquaintances laughed tipsily.

People have different ways of addressed with grief.

For some, that involved a long foot along Sochi’s bumpy shoreline, maybe with a prohibit of plombir ice cream or a midnight swim in the Black Sea. And for some, it involves sending your bride and two girls home to the hotel, and knocking back a few at a summertime cafe that exchanges grilled meats and the local unfiltered ale.

Aleksandr, who declined to give a last name, had driven three days to Sochi in his Toyota Highlander from Khanty-Mansiysk, where he owns a protection firm, for a beach vacation with his family. He’d forgot until the last minute to tell his wife that he had also bought air tickets to Saturday’s match.

Mario Fernandes

” She wasn’t happy about that ,” he admitted.

But the parallel was worth it, he said, despite the cost of the ticket, the days invested behind the wheel and the marriage strife it occurred.

” I think this is as far as we were allowed to go ,” he said, suggesting that all this is decided from above.” What would Russia be doing in a semi-finals at a World cup finals? So I can understand why we lost. But you know I was just hoping that this time, maybe we’d move through .”

Additional reporting by Shaun Walker in Samara

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