Russia’s celebration of win over Spain akin to WWII victory euphoria: Kremlin

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Moscow, July 2 (IANS) Russia’s celebration of the national team’s win over Spain in the FIFA World Cup round of 16 is comparable to the celebration of the World War II victory, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

“Enthusiastic and epic assessments of yesterday’s triumph are understandable from the emotional point of view. If you look at the streets of many Russian cities, including Moscow… in many respects, it was comparable to footage from May 9, 1945 (when Russia celebrated the World War II victory), with the exception of the fireworks,” Peskov told journalists, reports Sputnik news agency.

The comment referred to Sunday’s round 16 match, during which hosts Russia knocked 2010 World Cup winners Spain out of this summer’s tournament to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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“It was a fair game, and the one who is currently stronger wins in the fair game,” Peskov said, adding that “sport unites, not separates” people.

Speaking about the president’s reaction to the game, the spokesman noted that Vladimir Putin supported the Russian national football team “with all his heart”.

Russia will next face Croatia in the last eight match, which will be played in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Saturday. When asked if the Russian president will attend the upcoming game, the spokesman replied that the Kremlin was still unaware about it.

The head of Moscow’s Security and Anti-Corruption Department Vladimir Chernikov told Sputnik on Monday that more than 100,000 Russians and foreign tourists celebrated Russia’s victory.

“The total number of those who partied in the centre of Moscow is more than 100,000 people… People went to the city centre, and the joy was universal. It is understandable, such things do not happen often,” Chernikov said.

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Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin called the city’s Luzhniki Stadium a “lucky arena” for the Russian team.

–IANS

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