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“It seems, everybody loves football”

Player of the club "What? Where? When?", twice winner of the prize for the best connoisseur "Crystal Owl" Mikhail Skipskiy shared his impressions of the FIFA World Cup™

- The tournament is rolling to its finale, what impressions did it leave?
- This is really a holiday in the city and in the whole country. These crowds of fans, the carnival they create - an amazing story that is very rare in Russia, we do not have traditions of street festivals. Yet this is a very informal history, that for modern Russia, too, is unusual - it has not been “lowered from above”, but somehow organized itself, spontaneously. And suddenly it turns out that we have English-speaking policemen - polite and friendly. That we have amazing people who, for example, help the way in all the languages ​​of the world. And all this apart from the football itself, which is also cool, is interesting, there are intrigues in the matches and even in the group stage there were outstanding games. It seems to me that for the country as a whole this is a phenomenon of the same level as the Festival of Youth and Students for the USSR in the 1950s. A breakthrough story. The outcome should remain after all.

- What can it be?
- It is clear that there is a material aspect - stadiums, roads and bridges, but there is also moral in the minds of people. Many Petersburgers have been abroad - Helsinki and Tallinn are closer to us than Moscow, and Stockholm is at the same distance. However, in other cities of Russia people, of course, are less likely to leave the country. And they were able to look at the foreign culture, which we are pictured on television. In addition, many Latin Americans arrived, which live even farther. The Argentines, Peruvians, Mexicans, and Colombians created such an atmosphere! Their culture of street dancing, fun - we all know it only from books, but then we saw it in real life. And it seems to me that this is a good lesson for our authorities - we should not ban everything, because it does not work very much, and there is room for self-regulation.

- It's amazing, but so far there has not been a single skirmish between the fans who were so afraid of us!
- This is quite logical. Russia is really a hospitable country, we have a broad soul - it's true. People are happy that someone comes to us, sincerely interested in this. It is in the spirit of the Russian people - to show everything from the best side. We will turn out on the wrong side, but in the era of shortage, we will lay a rich table - this is in the genes of the Russian man and this manifests itself at the World Cup.

- And does what happens on the football fields surprise you? Our team, for example?
- Our team is doing exactly what it should. Of course, I did not expect that we would go so far with such a game, but I expected this game. Stanislav Cherchesov is a very authoritarian coach. The best that was so far in his career was FC “Amkar” in the 5th place of the Russian championship. For teams like "Amkar" Cherchesov is, of course, a godsend. And our team against the background of the other teams is a middle peasant. When a conditional “Karabas-Barabas” comes into it with his whip and builds the necessary dispositions, the team will follow the instructions of the coach. Then there is a fierce in the eyes of some players. Cheryshev, for example, is a great football player. "Crystal" a little bit, prone to injury, but great. Judging by Dzyuba, it is clear that the person has been preparing for the championship, got into the national team and now he has an incredible motivation. As with other players. But Cherchesov is also a coach-motivator - this is his strong side.

- Were there any unexpected discoveries in this tournament?
- Fans from Iran. Outstanding people. Probably, not all welcome the Islamic revolution and live under its burden for forty years ... Although I understand that Iran is the country very different from how we thought about it. It was for us, like Stalin's Russia for Europe. However, it turned out that in fact, there are people like us who live there; they can be happy and upset. Yes, there are women in hijabs, but there are many women in hijabs in London. Surely many of them have a British passport; this does not mean that they limit themselves in some way. Simply in different cultures, different things are considered indecent - in some, it is a shame not to cover your hair, in some - chest. The Russian team is surprising, which unexpectedly shows football without mistakes, and due to physical condition and discipline it looks very cool. I am also surprised by Japan, very similar to our team. And Croatia, playing in a flamboyant football.

- For two years we were convinced that we are a non-football country ...
- And it seems, everybody loves football! (smiles)

- Yes, and at the FIFA Fan Festival™ there is a full-house at every match, although people can watch football at home on TV. Especially when it’s raining.
- The World Cup aura, of course, does its job. There is a feeling that such thing in Russia happened just once and can never happen again. Therefore, if one did not get to the stadium, then at least - to the fan zone, to join this holiday. And it seems to me that the problem is not our footballers or fans. We have non-football management. In this sense, FIFA™ showed us how, with proper management, it is possible to get a Russian person to cheer for two teams that are alien to him (laughs). And people after all, not only watch the broadcast, they buy paraphernalia, food. We have good fields and stadiums, and by developing marketing, we can achieve that they will be visited. Sooner or later people should get used to going to the stadium, simply because the football team is the visiting card of the city and it is shameful not to have an abonnement. You cannot “appoint” a fashion to football, you can only work on it.