Serbian fans pose for pictures at Moscow's famous Red Square ahead of their team's game in the Russian capital. Photo: Felipe Trueba/EPA
Serbian fans pose for pictures at Moscow's famous Red Square ahead of their team's game in the Russian capital. Photo: Felipe Trueba/EPA
#Russia2018 is great... but something seems amiss, says IOL Sport's Mazola Molefe from Russia.
#Russia2018 is great... but something seems amiss, says IOL Sport's Mazola Molefe from Russia.

MOSCOW – It is difficult not to compare So, I again found myself drawing contrasts between the tournament here in Russia and our very own in 2010, as well as what I heard about the "samba" edition in Brazil four years ago from friends who were fortunate enough to be there.

Not that Moscow is boring, after all I was raving the other day about how when a group of my countrymen and I invaded the Saxon and Parole restaurant we very nearly brought the house down - while watching the match between Nigeria and Argentina on TV.

Finally we made our way to the Spartak Stadium on Wednesday evening to catch Serbia take on Brazil in what was a must-win fixture in Group E for both sides to stay in the competition.

The Brazilians, led by Neymar, were 2-0 victors, creating an ambience that’s unforgettable for many.

But there was something missing for me. Where were the drums, especially in a game that involved Brazil? There were several attempts to start a Mexican, which never quite took off. It was a little flat from that point of view.

Don’t get me wrong, the full fan experience is ther. You make your way to the stadium, present your ticket, have guides everywhere to assist in making sure you find the right seat (we had to ask some giant Serbian guys to move from ours, and it was such a relief that they were friendly) and you settle and relax, with a non-alcoholic beer in hand.

As soon as the final whistle sounds, there’s almost this feeling that there is an unwritten rule about a curfew at the World Cup.

No lingering song and dance, maybe a few more beers before dashing out of the stadium, but that’s pretty much it.

You will excuse me if this is all new to me.

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Perhaps that is actually how fans treat an event of this nature. Very often I am in the press box, working on the game and therefore I find that I spend long hours in a stadium. So it is possible that my expectations need to be slightly adjusted. However, I still feel like the 2010 World Cup was a bit more lively. It had a rhythm, a beat.

I am pretty sure the "samba" World Cup was no different because the Brazilian fans I have seen on the streets and even here at the Bud hotel always look like they are about to break into song and dance.

What appears to be a strait-laced Russian culture seems to be restricting them somewhat.

Anyway, every World Cup has it’s own story and I want to be part of more.

Molefe is in Russia courtesy of Castle Lager.



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