Russia – 2014
I didn’t think it was going to be so difficult to find the Russians. As one of only four new teams in the 2014 World Cup for me to photograph, they were an ESSENTIAL team for me to find this year. It took me, literally, until the final ten minutes of their last game to actually find them. This was after spending the previous entire two games in my car looking for them! Certainly, there are multiple reasons for this, including the ever worsening traffic in the city, the challenging year for Russia patriotism, and the misleading neighbourhoods of many ethnic Russians but no sports supporting Russians, but I really didn’t expect it to be that hard. All in all, I found them in Vaughn, at a great bar I hadn’t even considered until a lucky e-mail exchange through a lead from my mom.
Date: June 26, 2014
Score of game: Russia 1, Algeria 1
Location: WEGZ Stadium Bar, 2601 Rutherford Rd, Vaughan, ON L4K 2N6
Estimated number of fans at location: 50
More than any other country, Russia proved why you can’t really trust the “Where to watch the World Cup” lists that come out each year. The popular choices were the Vodka bars in Toronto, but I visited/called them multiple times and they were either closed during the actual game, or with NO, and I MEAN NO ONE, actually in the bar. Perhaps this will prove less difficult in four years when Russia will be the host of the World Cup. We’ll see!
The two photos below are taken at the very end of the match, when three Algeria fans celebrate because the draw with Russia means that Algeria advances and Russia goes home. These brave/stupid fans, surrounded by 50 pretty miserable Russian fans, created a pretty tense moment to be honest with you. Sounds like fun, but cheering in front of supporters of another team when that team had just been eliminated is… not ideal.