The Iran-Portugal match became the unconditional culmination of the Saransk stage of the 2018 World Cup. Never before had a superstar of such caliber as Cristiano Ronaldo come to Mordovia. What is important: the Iran-Portugal match was a real intrigue. At stake was the exit from the group, which meant an uncompromising fight on the field in the strongest squads.
The Portuguese flew to Saransk on the eve of the match, on the evening of June 24.
Their place of residence was chosen hotel Mercury, located in the heart of Saransk. Fans began to watch near the hotel long before the arrival of the team in the hope of at least an eye to see their idols.
The territory near Mercury had even to be protected – it was too strong for the fans to get close to the team from Portugal. People did not leave until nightfall. Particularly zealous noisy Iranian fans – most Ronaldo had to go out to the window and ask them to behave more quietly. It was not possible – the fans gave Cristiano applause, without lowering the decibels of his stay near the hotel. The next day for the Portuguese, too, did not stand still. After going for a short walk, they immediately got surrounded by fans and hurried to retire back to the hotel.
В Саранске в этот день иранских болельщиков было в разы больше, чем португальских. Вели себя они действительно очень шумно. В отличие от перуанских или колумбийских болельщиков, иранцы практически не поют и не танцуют, но вот их пластиковые дудки практически не умолкают. С атмосферой, создаваемой латиноамериканцами, конечно, не сравнить. Но все равно было достаточно позитивно.
В этот же день, но чуть раньше, играли сборные России и Уругвая. Люди смотрели матч где только могли, до последнего надеясь на положительный исход матча. К сожалению, 3:0.
However, this did not spoil the general mood. The Russian team all the same left the group, and ahead – the long-awaited match between Iran and Croatia.
Visually it seemed that the fans from Iran were at least 10 times less than from Portugal. But the Portuguese sang a lot: that their team is the champions of Europe; that Ronaldo will surely score; that their road will certainly end only in the final. And the Portuguese sang romantic ode to the Saransk girls. In general, the Iranians seemed much more serious.
But already on the territory of the stadium their musical and dancing talents decided to demonstrate and the guests from Iran.
Once again, I also want to note a good organization – large flows of people quickly penetrated the stadium, no crush and queues. In case of problems, volunteers quickly helped to solve them.
The stadium filled up quickly, and by the beginning of the match there was a full house.
The audience gathered in the stands very different – many people did not understand football very much, but of course they could not miss the opportunity to take a picture at the most rush match.
The game has begun. Iran needed only a victory, the Portuguese also arranged a draw.
All attention, of course, was focused on Cristiano Ronaldo. Each of his meeting with the ball – the buzz of approval from the neutral spectators and fans of Portugal, at the same time – the whistle from the Iranians.
Nothing is eternal under the Moon. Even the genius of Ronaldo faded a little in this Saransk evening. Maybe, really Cristiano did not get enough sleep, but he did not make the best match. It was lucky that his friend Ricardo Quaresma scored at the very end of the first half – his trademark strike, the outer side of the foot in the far corner. Not a break, the Portuguese have gone scoring in the account.
In the second half, Ronaldo’s failure parade continued again. He could not score a penalty and almost got a removal. The Iranians were able to score in the end of the match, and at the last minute they almost did not snatch victory. Portugal was a step away from relegation, but its goal eventually reached.
Although it was not the most spectacular match, the audience was satisfied. And the beautiful goal of Quaresma was seen, and Ronaldo was looked at.