Чемпионат мира в России: Победа! / The World Cup in Russia: Victory!

celebrating soccer fan

Audio Content: Russian soccer fans ecstatic after their team’s victories!
Visual Content: Moscow’s Nikolskaya Street, the gathering place for jubilant soccer fans from all over the world (video two).

With Russia’s hosting of the World Cup 2018 successfully concluded, let’s have a look at some of the fan celebrations. France took home the championship trophy, but Russians were very happy with how their national team performed. Expectations were low before the tournament started because the Russians had played very poorly in preliminary practice games and were at the bottom of the national rankings. The team, however, surprised its fans with a resounding 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in their first official match on June 14. The first video below highlights one happy fan’s reaction as he exits the main Moscow sports stadium, Luzhniki.

A second victory, this one against Egypt, was followed by a close loss to Uruguay, concluding the group stage of the tournament. Russia had performed well enough to make it into the World Cup play-offs for the first time since 1986, when it was still playing as part of the Soviet Union. This was already more than fans had expected, but one more stunning win was on the way. This came on July 1, when Russia beat Spain and advanced into the quarterfinals. This game, tied at 1 -1 after regular play, was decided by a penalty shootout. The decisive moment came when the Russian goalkeeper Ivan Akinfeev made an improbable penalty save with his foot. The second video below, shot on Nikolskaya Street in Moscow, shows fan reactions after the victory over Spain. Nikolskaya Street served during the World Cup as an unofficial center for soccer fans from all over the world, as it was decorated with hanging lights and had many bars and restaurants to attract fans. In the video below, TV Rain’s correspondent makes his way through an international crowd of people who have poured out into the street at the conclusion of the big game. Also see Meduza for a number of good photos of celebrations after the victory over Spain (look for the fan in the horse mask).

Russia ultimately lost to Croatia in the quarterfinals.

So watch the videos below and find out: What were fans expecting? How do they express extreme excitement? How far did they think Russia would go? Who plans to stay sober amid all the partying?

Заметки о языке: A generic Russian word for “team” is “команда,” but a unified national team is more often called a “сборная,” from “собирать” = “to gather.” A victory of any type is a “победа,” but winning and losing in the context of playing games is expressed by adding prefixes to the verb “играть” = “to play.” To win a game is выиграть (perf.) / выигрывать (impf.) матч. Losing is проиграть (perf.) / проигрывать (impf.) матч. To express beating a particular opponent, use “обыграть / обыгрывать (кого?).” And fans are “болельщики,” a word that has a (troubling?) connection to the verb for being sick.

Regarding the Luch Sveta project in general: There are more paywalls and geographic video streaming restrictions appearing in Russian media outlets, and even for a major topic like the World Cup it’s harder than one would expect to find useful language practice segments. But good things do come up now and then and I’ll post what I find. Friendly topics like international sports events are nice, but of course there are also lots of controversial yet important and interesting topics related both to Russia’s domestic dynamics and its influence campaigns abroad. I try to mix different kinds of topics, but a lot depends on where I happen to find decent audio quality and relatively clear, interesting language. For those interested in Putin, U.S.-Russia relations and Trump’s preference for Putin’s talking points over U.S. intelligence, some earlier posts here and here give a pretty good idea of Putin’s style, views and persuasive power.

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Video One

June 14, 2018



Когершын Сагиева, ведущая Дождя: Ну, а прямо сейчас в фан-зоне ФИФА рядом с Лужниками находится наш коллега Алексей Коростелёв. Лёша, привет!

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