05:59 GMT09 May 2021
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    The 2018 FIFA World Cup might have finished, but it's sure to leave a lasting impression on the seven hundred thousand plus football fans that came to Russia from all across the world for the tournament. Many of them were first-time visitors to the country. Sputnik has asked them to share their thoughts about Russia and the tournament.


    You have a stunningly beautiful country, wonderful monuments and the reception was remarkable. We didn’t think it would be that good, besides the event was organized very well. Well done Russia!


    Moscow for me is a very exciting city, very nice city, actually I didn’t think this is Moscow, I think the World Cup is a good opportunity to see other countries and to see other cities. And this visit changed our stereotype about Moscow.

    We thought Moscow is different; all we knew about Moscow was from Hollywood, from outside media. So when I came to Moscow myself and see the country and see the people, see how the people are happy and trying to help, trying to do something for others. I think this is great.


    It’s been a very organized event. It’s also helped me discover what I didn’t know about Russia. I’ve read so much about Russia being a country you had to avoid, a lot of insecurity, crime, also a little racism as well, but since I stepped in here I’ve had a very wonderful experience and I can’t wait to come back to Russia. It’s been a wonderful experience here.


    Russia is spectacular! They never teach you about Russia at school or any other place really. Here you understand that Russia is an amazing country with amazing people and a booming hi-tech industry. And no one really knows this because we have never been taught about Russia.

    Is it true what they say about Russians that we are cold and we never smile?

    No, not at all. Once here one gets to know the Russian people better. They're very nice, very kind and joyful.

    Is it your first time in Russia?

    Yes, I’ve never imagined I would visit Russia and now I’m happy to be here and get acquainted with such a different culture. The world has been rediscovering Russia and the World Cup has been a great catalyst for this. We can learn about your quite unique culture, learn about the way people think and live here; and it is very exciting.


    It’s very different from the idea we have in the rest of the world. Someone makes us think very differently about Moscow, about Russia in general, and it’s not like that, it is a very nice city. I went to Rostov, to Ekaterinburg and Samara and I was watching the Mexican team. So I went to the cities where Mexico played.

    What city did you like the most?

    Ekaterinburg by far. I loved that city, the people, the food, the river — it’s a fantastic city. Mostly the people are very kind. They don't understand you and I don’t understand them but they tried to help, every time I had a problem people made an effort to understand and they tried to give me a solution for any problem.

    So that’s very nice, the people were very kind. It’s not the cold country that they made us think. I don’t know if it’s American point of view. That they make the whole world think like that by the movies and culture, but it's not like the movies. Russia is totally different, it's a nice place and a nice country. I love it! It’s totally different than what I think before I came.


    I’m here for the World Cup. I enjoyed it very much. You have a great country. The event is great, security, cleanness, everything!


    We’ve been overly impressed about everything in Russia. Everyone is super friendly, can’t believe how clean it is.
    The food is excellent, the architecture is fabulous. We went into the subway and saw all the arches and monuments, it’s been a really well run.


    It’s awesome. It’s a magical place, everything is further apart because Russia so big. Everything is just so much further apart than in my country. My steps on my fitbit, look, it’s 30,000 today. The stereotype of unfriendly and intimidating — not there, not there anywhere, it’s a wonderful country.


    I think that the organization is perfect. I’m impressed with the organization, with Russia, with people in Russia. People are very kind, helpful, everything you need you can have here. It is a beautiful town (Moscow) very nice, very clean. I’m impressed. You have a 10 million people here, and you have very good restaurants, famous restaurants.

    For more information listen to this edition of Weekend Special on the World Cup.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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