Support The Moscow Times!

Vox Pop: Following Loss to Croatia, Russia Fans Look On The Bright Side

Carl Recine / Reuters

The Moscow Times went to the Vorobyovy Gory fan zone to ask locals how they were feeling after the national team’s defeat.

Svyatoslav Anton Muratov / MT

Saturday's game was the best so far: unbelievable emotions, pure passion. They pushed until the very end. So I’m not sad at all, we had a great run. No one expected them to get this far.

The biggest problem isn’t the level of football being played, it’s the lack of football culture and support for the team. People don’t know how to react to this sort of success, we don’t remember how to celebrate.

— Svyatoslav, 43

Anastasia and Svetlana Anton Muratov / MT

They did everything they could, but they just weren’t lucky enough this time. 

— Anastasia, 27 (left)

The atmosphere at the fan zone was electric. I’ve never seen so many Russian flags in one place. I’m really happy that we did so well. She’s right, we just needed a bit of extra luck.

I don’t know who else to support after Russia. Maybe Croatia — you have to admit they played with a lot of skill against us.

— Svetlana, 28 (right) 

Yevgeny Anton Muratov / MT

How could I be disappointed? We’ve waited 10 years for this!

The finals should be interesting. We have no idea what will happen, but I’m excited.

To improve Russian football, as has been said many times, we need new football academies, we need to pay coaches more, we need to get the youth interested in the sport.

— Yevgeny, 21

Vika Anton Muratov / MT

Our boys are champions. They beat all expectations and played well against the Croatians. I am really proud of them. They’re the best!

Russia has been kicked out but this is still a huge celebration of football, and it’s the first time it’s happening here in Russia. Meeting so many new people has been great.

— Vika, 18

Includes reporting by Anton Muratov.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.