Former England and Manchester United defender Gary Neville says Russia has “risen to the occasion” as hosts of the 2018 World Cup, which he hailed as “the best tournament I’ve ever seen.”
Neville, now a popular TV pundit, tweeted after Belgium’s stunning 3-2 comeback win against unfancied Japan – the latest thriller to be played out at Russia 2018.
The former England defender is in Russia working for UK channel ITV, and himself played in two World Cup campaigns with England. He was full of praise for the 2018 edition of the tournament and its hosts Russia.
He also encouraged fans to "come and enjoy it if you can."
This tournament is the best I’ve ever seen. This country 🇷🇺 has risen to the occasion!! Come and enjoy it if you can ⚽️— Gary Neville (@GNev2) July 2, 2018
Neville is the latest to join a chorus of praise for the 2018 World Cup, with the action on the pitch providing a relentless stream of excitement during the group phase which has now continued into the knockout stages.
The Belgium versus Japan game was just the latest example, with the unfancied Asian team taking a shock two-nil lead in the second half before the Belgians came storming back with three goals in the final 25 minutes - the last of which came deep into stoppage time.
Yesterday saw hosts Russia pull off a shock penalty shootout victory over Spain, while reigning champions Germany were dumped out at the group stage after a final group game defeat to South Korea.
Off the pitch, Russia has won praise for its organization of the tournament, while the carnival atmosphere created by the hundreds of thousands of fans in the country has dispelled the doubts many raised in the run-up to the event - especially in the UK press - about the welcome fans would receive.