Nahuel Miranda tells us about his experiences working as a journalist at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
I went to Russia to test my luck. And the moment I set foot in my apartment surrounded by Cyrillic letters and rooms that seemed like something out of The Shining, I really wasn’t feeling very lucky.
My plan was to study as much as possible, and, if I could manage it, try my luck at working as a freelance sports correspondent. I didn’t know a word of Russian. I didn’t know anybody. And the most important sporting event in the last five years was fast approaching.
It was time to stay inside to avoid the cold and isolate myself to avoid the frustration of not being able to communicate with anyone. Time to fight. A journey in which I learnt that not all friendly faces turn out to be friends, that universities are just as mediocre everywhere you go, and that beetroot Borscht gives me the shits.
On the very first day I already knew that this trip was something special – I’d have stories to tell for the rest of my life. Like always having to order food by pointing and the safest-looking dish. Or when I came across a kitchen riddled with cockroaches and suspiciously-brown water in the sink. Or the first time it snowed on 15th October.
I soon found a way out of this testing everyday life. Pauvlychenko scored two goals playing in the Third Divison. Quincy Promes dribbling the ball across a frozen pitch whilst the fans watched half-naked. Each and every slip by Farfan. The beautiful way in which Alexandr Golovin handles the ball. Seeing the same crazy group of fans always there in the freezing cold Muscovite air supporting such a disregarded sport.
My Russian improved, the show melted, and FC Lokomotiv won the league. If Eder was capable of making history, I could join the best in my profession and look them in the eye. Learn from them.
It wasn’t perfect, but who would I be kidding if I were to say otherwise? I made a lot of bad decisions and I didn’t do everything I wanted to do. But I went to Russia to try my luck and I ended up seeing the World Cup.