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World Cup Countdown: The Post-Sochi View from Russia

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics were a real game changer throughout the Russian Federation. Despite the skeptical social buzz leading up to the Games, Sochi managed to deliver a great festival of international sport. Russians were proud to show their country as a strong, modern nation capable of shifting stereotypes and exceeding expectations.

Within Russia, the Olympic Games really changed public sentiment toward the upcoming 2018 World Cup, which we will also host. Sochi proved that Russia is able to build the high-class stadiums and infrastructure needed to host rigorous international sporting competitions. Since the Games, polling has show that the majority of the population now believes that hosting the World Cup will be a positive experience—one that will improve our society and instill national pride.

Our national teams’ amazing performance both at Sochi and in the World Cup playoffs have also bolstered national sporting pride. This is the first time since 2002 that we’ve made it to the World Cup playoffs, and while less than 1% of Russians will get to go to Brazil to experience the World Cup in person, a massive 60% intend to follow the competition via media. And 10% of us believe in a miracle—a World Cup victory for the Russian football team!

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