Invisible to the crowds flocking to World Cup venues all over Russia are legions of migrant workers from Central Asia, who built the stadiums and keep them running, staff concession stands, and clean up after fans who revel through city streets.
The first time Antoine Griezmann met Thierry Henry he was 7. Henry had just helped France to its only World Cup title and Griezmann, who could barely reach the player’s waist on tippy-toes, wanted an autograph.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has never coached a game at the international level, yet his influence was considered partly responsible for the success of the last two World Cup champions and could play a role in next Sunday’s final was well.
Alex Ovechkin has brought the Stanley Cup to the World Cup.
The Washington Capitals captain took the NHL trophy to a fan zone in Moscow where World Cup games are screened. With the Russian national guard providing security, Ovechkin lifted the cup above his head in front of a crowd of fans, who were allowed to take photos with the trophy.
“The cup is with us. The cup is in Moscow, Russia,” Ovechkin said. “I am very happy for the people that can see it and touch it. I am very, very happy.”