After the absolutely failed experience of the France match (we actually decided to leave the Match a few minutes early to catch the metro ahead of the wave) we went back to our hotel and then headed to the airport.
We made good time to the airport and then after Check-in decided to have some dinner. There was a very nice looking steak restaurant in terminal D across from the Aeroflot counters, we had over one hour for dinner, definitely enough time right?
Let me make a quick parenthesis on this topic, this is on area were our Russian friends still have a long way to go to catch up. Service at restaurants in most cases is very slow. ( especially when the waiter is a millennial). The service at this restaurant was so bad, the waitress couldn’t care less about the customers and the waitresses didn’t help each other.
I may be biased on this regard as Mexico has a great culture of service, particularly restaurant service, which by the way is not restricted to expensive restaurants. Good service is abundant in Mexico, not so in Rusia. If you intend to have a sit down meal make sure you have at least 90 minutes or look for a fast food meal.
We arrived in Ekaterimburg yesterday morning ( so many things happen it’s hard to believe it was just yesterday) and headed to the hotel where we managed to get a couple of hours of sleep and a shower. This time we stayed at a 4 star hotel organized through fifa hotels ( not bad).
We decided to get to the stadium early and take advantage of the hospitality food so we started our walk toward the stadium when we saw the trolley pass by and it had a “Vintage” feel to it so we decided we should take it to the stadium ( it’s free anyway). The lady in the trolley was very angry at us for not paying ( even though we showed here our magic card, fan id to no avail so we paid 28 rubles per person ( about 0.40 USD per person) We should’ve guessed that her not knowing about free with fan I’d was a bad omen, of course the trolley turned right about 100 meters away from the hotel. We got off at the next stop, crossed to the other side, waited for the next trolley and asked the driver ” STADIUM”? Yes…. Free with Fan Id? Yes
Finally we were on our way to soccer heaven. Or were we? Very slowly, the trolley started getting away from the stadium until we managed to be about three times our original distance from the stadium 😵. Are you kidding me? We got off and had to take an Uber to get to the stadium ( all in all this took us over an hour to cover an original distance of 2.2 km)
The stadium looked really pretty ( except for the overgrown school festival external stands ) just looking at them made me a little dizzy and afraid of heights.
The green wave is amazing, we are everywhere. This city is over 11K away from Mexico City ( and at least three flights away) and the crowd is here. It’s amazing that so few Swedes made the trip considering that they are only 2.5 k away from home.
As soon as they announced the referee from Argentina, I got a bad feeling. That bad feeling was confirmed with the first yellow card at under a minute of play. This referee is a “Pelotudo” to say the least and be polite.
The story of the game you know, you saw. I believe Mexico should’ve been a little more patient waiting them out and letting the Swedes sweat. The frustration, the excitement, the cold water shower of 3-0, the Korean “help”, it was an emotional rollercoaster. In the end we went back to the hospitality lounge were we enjoyed about two more hours worth of food, drink, fun, futbolito and then proceeded to go back to the hotel. Of course once we were qualified and digested the score, the town lit up as both teams had qualified.
Even though I still believe the refereeing was biased and protagonistic I will recognize that after I watched the Hector MORENO play I believe it was a correct call.
The next day was nothing spectacular. After a stroll through the city, four square took us to have a great lunch at an Italian restaurant and then on to the airport.
As I’m waiting to take of to get again back to Moscow ( last time), COLOMBIA and Japan just classified leaving Senegal and Poland outside. From a Latin America perspective, congratulations to Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia for making it to the next round.