10:36 GMT +320 September 2018
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    CSKA's Vasily Berezutsky, Kirill Nababkin and Arsenal's Nacho Monreal, left to right, during a quarterfinal match of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League between CSKA (Moscow, Russia) and Arsenal (London, UK)

    Escaped Bears, Not Fuzzy Hats: How British Soccer Fans Survived a Moscow Visit

    © Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich
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    The UK tabloids tried to scare British fans away from Moscow with hooligans and provocations when Arsenal played against the local CSKA club. The Arsenal folks came and seemed to enjoy a warm welcome instead.

    Soccer fans who came to Moscow to support London’s Arsenal at the match against the Russian team CSKA gave delighted feedback after the game. Not only has their team made it to the semi-final of the Europa League, capturing a 2:2 draw, but Russia welcomed them very warmly.

    Some appreciated special gifts, prepared by fellow football fans, traditional Russian “Ushankas” (fuzzy hats with ear flaps).

    ​Others liked atmosphere.

    ​The club seemed to enjoy the visit, too.

    ​This dispelled the reports in the UK press, which warned their soccer-loving compatriots about possible violent attacks of Russian hooligans, who could try to provoke aggression. The Daily Express claimed that Russian ultras can use the Arsenal-CSKA game as a test run for battles at FIFA World Cup 2018, which is to take place in Russia this summer. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail cited Russian Football Union official Vladimir Markin, who said that the fans who “look for 'adventures' in Russia, might find them.”

    READ MORE: Russian Embassy: Mundial Organizers Expect Huge Influx of US Soccer Fans

    Some media even decided to provide extra-security for their staffers. According to the reports of the Russian Sports outlet Championat.com, the BBC even hired a private security guard for the media center at the stadium. However, his services were not needed.

    Although the CSKA’s VEB Arena attracted a record-breaking crowd of 29,284 fans, no incidents have been reported.

    Related:

    Russian Embassy: Mundial Organizers Expect Huge Influx of US Soccer Fans
    Soccer Fanatics Rejoice: Design of FAN ID for FIFA World Cup 2018 Unveiled
    Tags:
    fans, tourists, Twitter, soccer, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Arsenal, CSKA Moscow FC, Moscow, Russia
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