Skip to Content
The Ball 2002 is kicked over the Great Wall of China on its way to Korea & Japan

Category: Russia

The Central Asian Experience

We’ve arrived in Uzbekistan, that’s for sure.

Equivalents in cash
Equivalents in cash

Things take an unexpected turn at the Kyrgyz embassy.

Comment on this video

So then, more bureaucracy. Oh joy of joys. Still, on better note, we’ve just heard that Ananova published an article about us yesterday. Big shout to Ginny for the coverage. They’ve titled it “Football fans create World Cup’s version of Olympic torch” which we like – some nice touches too, such as the first line:

“A group of men (!!! – ed) are taking a football from London to Japan to create the World Cup’s version of the Olympic torch.”

The Ball hits the bar in Tashkent
The Ball hits the bar in Tashkent

Our stay in Tashkent has been brief – just long enough to organise how to get out of the place, in fact. We’re heading for the ancient and historic city of Samarkhand, built by Tamerlane to be the capital of his vast empire stretching far and wide across Asia.

In which we leave Tashkent and anticipate meeting Rich.

Comment on this video

Goodbye Europe, Hello Asia (or, if Teeth had Skin…)

Chris in Red Square
Chris looking concerned as he leaves Red Square

The long ball from the centre of defence to midfield went straight to feet. We landed safely in Tashkent, though it was touch and go to say the least – the ball could easily have been intercepted, and we would have been left wide open at the back. Let me explain…

Despite the hassles encountered here, we have fond memories of Moscow.

Comment on this video

Read the rest of this entry »

O Sport, You Are World Peace

We love this sentiment, which we found at the training ground just outside Luzhniki Stadium… given the current troubles in the Middle East, does anyone fancy organising a game between Israel and Palestine, like the one at Christmas in 1914?

O Sport You Are World Peace

Could sport ever really bring peace, or is it just naivety?

Phil and Chris head for the Kazakh embassy for yet another round of intensive visa training.

Comment on this video

Too many bureaucrats, too many forms and too little sleep causes frictions between friends.

Comment on this video

Dodgy dealings in Red Square

We got up at 6.30 this morning for a photo-shoot in Red Square for the Moscow Times (read the story here) – which went very well, apart from me having to pay a “fine” to a militia guy with 500 Roubles (kindly negotiated on our behalf by Martin, the photographer) to persuade him to give Phil his passport back -all for using a tripod to do a panorama of the square!

Red Square corruption

If you’re reading this, my Russian friend, I hope you like this photo of you with Phil.

A dodgy encounter with a dodgy official – we come very close to our first yellow card.

Comment on this video

Moscow Memorabilia

Torpedo Moscow ticket
A Torpedo Zil ticket

The Ball takes a ride on the famous Moscow Metro.

Comment on this video

The Russian translation of our trip:

the Russian translation of our trip

Phil gets all arty with the digital camera (sorry Phil!) and debunks one of the myths of this trip at the same time (sigh):

Moscow collage


Torpedo-Zil Youth
Group shot post game with the Torpedo Zil youth team

What a storming game of football we have just played… Post Moscow derby match between Locomotive (“Loco, Loco”) and Torpedo Zil, we gathered signatures on our World Cup ball, like football star trainspotters (a small bottle of ‘nail lacquer’ to protect) and attracted a crowd of young up and coming Torpedo stars whose trainer was only too happy to agree to their demands of an England/Russia showdown on the training ground across the car park.

We go to watch our first game, but have more fun playing our first game of the trip afterwards.

Comment on this video

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.