Mexican fans have shared their thoughts on the welcome they received when visiting Russia for the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup.
As Kazan hosted the Mexican team for their Confed Cup match with Russia on Saturday, the city’s central streets took on a carnival atmosphere, with fans from both countries interacting, exchanging scarves, and taking pictures.
“I hope that Russia and Mexico (will) go the final game,” said one Mexico fan prior to the match, which turned out to be Russia’s last.
Another traveling supporter, David ‘El Rey’ of the Mexico fan group Pancho Villa’s Army, said the Russian people he met at the match in Kazan were “awesome, beautiful people,” adding that he would recommend coming to Russia to even his non-friends.
“They are very welcoming, very humble. The complete opposite of what is thought at times from the outside," he said talking to RT Sport in one of local bars in Kazan.
But once you actually have the experience of coming out, then it’s a very, very good place,” said David, who was born in Mexico, but lives in California.
“Everybody is just awesome, super friendly. And the atmosphere, as you see here, has been like this the whole time, nonstop and it’s very, very welcoming.
"Kazan is a nice place with great people,” he said. Mexico plays Russia in the team’s final Group A game of the tournament, with ‘El Tri’ needing just a point against the Russians to book their place in the semi-final stage, and Russia needing a win to make sure they don’t become the only host nation not to qualify from a Confed Cup group stage.
Commenting on security at the tournament, David said what he has seen at the 2017 Confederations Cup has been better than that at other major football tournaments, such as previous World Cups.
“Very structured. It’s actually very good. Security wise – there’s a lot of security, which is expected, but it’s a little bit beyond the expectancy,” he said.
“Being at other World Cups, you see the security and you kind of get to see flaws in the security or portions of it, but here it looks like they’ve got the security pretty much tightened down.”
Kazan was also the host city for Mexico’s game versus Portugal, where Mexico rescued a 2-2 draw with a dramatic injury time equalizer after falling behind late on.
Asked if he would recommend the city in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan to friends, David said he would “without a doubt”.
“Without a doubt. I would recommend not only to my friends, but my non friends, people that I don’t know we might meet them and have a chat about it of course yes!”