New East Digital Archive

Faces of the World Cup: these are the people who made Russia’s epic summer

Three photographers capture the ordinary Russians who made the summer one to remember for thousands of visitors

When visitors to Russia for the 2018 World Cup look back on their trips, what — and more importantly, who — will they remember? Everyone knows the sensation of travelling abroad and experiencing a moment of unexpected understanding with the people around you: those points where you realise that, although you’re speaking different languages, you and your hosts are not so different after all. The World Cup in Russia saw thousands of people coming together to share experiences, but the real moments of connection were not in the high-profile matches and sporting glamour. The countless “ordinary” Russians, for whom life went on (roughly) as usual during the tournament, were far more relatable than the footballing megastars who jetted in and out of each host city. Outside of the excitement of the games themselves, visitors to Russia got to see just how relatable the regular folks of a much-maligned country truly are. Below are snapshots of regular life during the tournament, taken by three photographers in seven different World Cup host cities, which prove that everyday life may be predictable, but it is never dull. These are the true faces of the World Cup.