MOSCOW — There were 33,452 spectators at the Otkrytie Arena on Sunday for Chile’s 2-0 Confederations Cup Group B win vs. Cameroon, and the feeling was that all of them were Chileans. According to the estimations of many with whom I spoke, about 12,000 traveled to Russia for the tournament, and they completely took over the stadium. Their emotion and pure love of football is addictive, and watching the game among them has been a remarkable experience. It was a privilege.
People of all ages came from around the globe to support the national team. Senior fans were quite noticeable. On the other hand, two named Felipe and Jimena brought their daughter, who is just a few months old. Their trip actually ended in huge disappointment, as they assumed that the baby wouldn’t need a ticket, but the stadium authorities decided otherwise and declined to let them in.
Dominique and Nicolas specifically included the Confederations Cup in their schedule on their honeymoon in Europe and came to Moscow after travelling in the north of Norway. They follow the team wherever it goes.
“We bought tickets to all our games in the tournament — not only the group stage matches, but also both semifinals and the final,” said one fan called Alvaro. “We hope to go all the way, and don’t care to lose money on the second semifinal, which will take place without us. We might as well give out those tickets to someone for free.”
His friend Diego explained: “Chile have a golden generation now. There are a lot of phenomenal players — Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel, Claudio Bravo and others. This doesn’t happen too often, and they are not going to last forever. We must enjoy them while we can. They won the Copa America two times, and now can go even further. We are going to support them everywhere.”
They were delighted with the result, but didn’t like the usage of video replays.
“Those episodes are against the nature of the game,” said Diego. “When the goal is scored, we want to celebrate it. How are we supposed to celebrate if the goal is allowed a minute after the ball touched the net? The emotions are not the same. The disallowed goal…