By Daniel Pradilla

 

How Russia changed their reputation and organized the most amazing World Cup in history.

13 years of football traveling had earn us a reputation that we could have never imagined. We feel proud and honored when people from all over the world coming to us for advice, asking to help them make their dreams come true by attending the FIFA World Cup.

We must admit that we all had our doubts about Russia, but the minute we landed, we realized that all those assumptions were wrong. Russia and its people didn’t waste this opportunity to host the biggest sporting event on earth. Instead, they work their ass-off to show the world what an amazing country they are.

After attending the last 4 World Cups, we could tell you that we’ve never seen a tournament better organized and put together than the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Their stadiums were incredible, the public transportation and access routes to the stadiums were impeccable. The ticketing and information centers were incredible. Thousand benefit from the free trains between cities and the paying for visas thanks to the brilliant idea of the fan IDs. The FIFA Fan Fests we went to were simply amazing!

 

 

MOSCOW

BPF co-founder Daniel (Right) with his wife Laura, and his in-laws Claudia and Joaquin.

BPF co-founder Daniel (Right) with his wife Laura, and his in-laws Claudia and Joaquin.

Daniel catching up his high-school friends Juan Pablo Moreno, Daniel Gonzalez and MIguel Henao.

Daniel catching up his high-school friends Juan Pablo Moreno, Daniel Gonzalez and MIguel Henao.

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The football head men were an absolute success in Russia.

The football head men were an absolute success in Russia.

Good times at the FIFA Fan Fest in Moscow.

Good times at the FIFA Fan Fest in Moscow.

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Train from Moscow to Sararnsk for the Colombian debut

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The admosphere on the train was amazing, everyboy was in a great mood before the match.

The admosphere on the train was amazing, everyboy was in a great mood before the match.

 

SARANSK

June 19th - Mordovia Arena, Saransk (Colombia 1 - Japan 2)

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The locals fans took to the street to welcome the fans and show their support for their favorite players.

The locals fans took to the street to welcome the fans and show their support for their favorite players.

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The BPF team getting together before the kickoff.

The BPF team getting together before the kickoff.

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Things didn't start well for Colombia as we got a red card and Japan was awarded a penalty.

Things didn't start well for Colombia as we got a red card and Japan was awarded a penalty.

As the half time approached we were hoping for a come back, specially the birthday girl.

As the half time approached we were hoping for a come back, specially the birthday girl.

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Despite the bad result, our faith remained intact and we were already thinking about the next match.

Despite the bad result, our faith remained intact and we were already thinking about the next match.

It was really great to see how thousands of Colombian fans came from all over the world to support their team.

It was really great to see how thousands of Colombian fans came from all over the world to support their team.

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This was my second World Cup, and my third trip with the BPF crew. I'm lucky that my birthday always land when Colombia plays at the WC, that also happened in Brazil. Traveling with Backpacking Football is an unbelievable experience that you never forget.

"

LAURA ZAGARRA   |   COLOMBIA FAN


 

SAINT PETERSBURG

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Having a good time with Daniel, Mohamed and James, some english friends we met at a bar. That night, we were supposed to go to bed early, instead, we ended up drinking until very late with these folks. The next day, Mohamed was kind enough to hock us up with tickets for the Brazil vs Costa Rica match.

Having a good time with Daniel, Mohamed and James, some english friends we met at a bar. That night, we were supposed to go to bed early, instead, we ended up drinking until very late with these folks. The next day, Mohamed was kind enough to hock us up with tickets for the Brazil vs Costa Rica match.

 

June 22nd - Saint Petersburg Stadium (Brazil 2 - Costa Rica 0)

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Another high school reunion in St. Pettersburg

Another high school reunion in St. Pettersburg

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Thanks to my friend Mohammed, who let me seat with his family during the match.

Thanks to my friend Mohammed, who let me seat with his family during the match.

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On our way to Kazan the second Colombia match.

On our way to Kazan the second Colombia match.

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The entire flight was full of yellow, blue and red jerseys from theColombian Fans.

The entire flight was full of yellow, blue and red jerseys from theColombian Fans.

KAZAN

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The football head men getting some love from local fans and the press.

The football head men getting some love from local fans and the press.

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Amazing atmosphere at the Backpacking Football pre-game party in Kazan.

Amazing atmosphere at the Backpacking Football pre-game party in Kazan.

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June 24th - Kazan Arena (Colombia 3 - Poland 0)

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A very special moment for “El Tigre” Falcao, after scoring his first World Cup goal.

A very special moment for “El Tigre” Falcao, after scoring his first World Cup goal.

Colombian players celebrating their 3-0 final result against Poland.

Colombian players celebrating their 3-0 final result against Poland.

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Celebrating the victory until the next day.

Celebrating the victory until the next day.

 

Mandatory tourism break in Kazan before our next match. 

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SAMARA

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June 28th - Samara Arena (Colombia 1 - Senegal 0)

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With the little Zhenia, the 8-year old Russian kid that we meet at the Fan Fest. Read more about his story  here .

With the little Zhenia, the 8-year old Russian kid that we meet at the Fan Fest. Read more about his story here.

Despite the final score, the Senegalese fans were always in a good mood and taking pictures with all the Colombian fans.

Despite the final score, the Senegalese fans were always in a good mood and taking pictures with all the Colombian fans.

Spasibo Russia, you should be extremely proud of your performance as a host country, and as a football team! See you in Qatar 2022.