There were tears when the Russian national team returned to Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium to bid the fans a last farewell. But they were tears of regretful joy rather than frustration. Disaster had been gloriously averted. When Russia bowed out, after a penalty shoot-out against Croatia, it had put on its best World Cup performance since 1970, when the Soviet Union reached the last eight in Mexico.
Putin’s World Cup dividend
Football and diplomacy
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