Russia Diary: Boisterous Iran fans paint St. Petersburg white

Iran fans had an enjoyable night in the Russian cultural capital of St. Petersburg...

This article is in collaboration with Vivo who are the official sponsor of the 2018 World Cup, the 2021 Confederations Cup and also the 2022 World Cup. All the photos and videos in this article were clicked through the limited edition World Vivo V9 phones.

The Russian City of St. Petersburg, nestled close to the Finnish Bay, was warm unlike the capital Moscow – which forced the public gathered to watch the inauguration of the 2018 World Cup in cold weather. 

The number of rivers and canals that cross the city also made the atmosphere different. The sense of calm and comfort strikes one while walking the streets from the airport – little wonder the city is called the cultural capital of the country.

Piala Dunia 2018 - Zenit Arena

The beauty and splendour of the Zenit Arena stadium which has a capacity of 67000 and hosted the game between Iran and Morocco took one's breath away. Fans of Iran sounded like the majority and they also looked more compact in their assembly. 

"This is a very tiring day," said FIFA Venue Manager Malgin Vladimir, while describing the enthusiasm of two sets of supports who came to the Zenit Arena. 

The result on the pitch was very satisfying, at least for neutral fans and also Iranian supporters, with Carlos Queiroz's squad winning dramatically.  

Morocco were the dominant team. However, Aziz Bouhaddouz who entered in the second half, made a massive error in the final minute of injury time to gift the Lions of Khorasan a massive three points. 

Piala Dunia 2018 - Fans Iran

The 31-year-old attacker misjudged a free-kick from the right-hand side of the defence – his diving header instead guiding the ball into his own goal. 

It was instantly greeted by the screams of tens of thousands of Iranian fans while Moroccan fans were forced to swallow the disappointment of seeing their team lose.

The boisterous atmosphere inside the stadium lasted long enough as Iranian players approached the stands where their fans were housed to celebrate the win over their rivals. 

Despite Portugal and Spain playing an absolute cracker of a match, which ended 3-3, the City of St. Petersburg enjoyed a ‘White Night’ which continued to shroud the city well after midnight.