One of the social media themes easily detected after members of the media and fans alike thoroughly enjoyed themselves at a wonderful World Cup in Russia was the "what was all the fuss about?" post.
Travellers from western Europe headed to Russia fully versed in tales of hooliganism and against a news backdrop of Vladimir Putin's regime being linked to sinister acts from chemical attacks to electoral medalling.
A heavy police and security presence, along with the vetting allowed by FIFA's Fan ID system, meant football violence was never likely to stain the tournament, leaving fans from around the world to take in the imposing grandeur of Moscow, the elegance of St Petersburg and a nationwide party with a warm and welcoming public.
The fear for those pushing to tackle discrimination against ethnic minorities and the LGBT community in Russian football, such as Pavel Klymenko of the FARE Network, is their ongoing fight might be lost beneath the plaudits.
"Certainly for Russia this tournament has been a charm offensive," Klymenko told Omnisport at FARE's Diversity House in St Petersburg – a project that also featured a Moscow location throughout the tournament, providing a safe space for watching matches, parties, exhibitions and discussions.
2) The #DiversityHouse vibe. The two Houses were the only Human Rights spaces at the #WorldCup, together they hosted over 60 events.— Fare (@farenet) July 16, 2018
Thank you to all of our partners, friends and supporters. You were inspiring. pic.twitter.com/TbUHMWRkOg
"Many international fans have enjoyed the tournament but there have always been these underlying issues that many people felt were swept under the carpet.
"On the surface, you had an amazing experience of partying in central Moscow, bringing flags and booze to Red Square.
"But when someone wants to express an opinion or a protest… there have been instances of people going out into Red Square with just a blank sheet of paper and being arrested for that."
Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for the pitch invasion that interrupted Sunday's final between France and Croatia, and the art-punk protest group outlined demands for the release of political prisoners, an end to "illegal arrests" at rallies and the renewal of political competition in Russia via accompanying social media posts.
Additionally, Pussy Riot cited the late poet Dmitri Aleksandrovich Prigov to paint a contrast between benevolent policing during the World Cup and an anticipated return to a hardline approach.
"We can talk about someone having a great time on holiday in the Maldives but if you ask the locals how it is living in the Maldives they will tell you the story of poverty, of authoritarian government and religious oppression," Klymenko said.
11 de diciembre 2018
|Seahawks secure dominant win over Vikings|
|Iniesta visits Messi and former club Barcelona|
|Drake makes plea for ball thrown into stands after Miami miracle|
|´Toughest pretty boy I´ve ever met´ - Langer dismisses Paine concerns|
|Van Dijk says Liverpool can challenge for double ahead of Napoli decider|
|Hazard: I´ve always loved Real Madrid|
|Yankees interested in Machado, not Harper - Cashman|
|Warriors´ Curry believes moon landing was faked|
|76ers star Butler suffers strained groin|
|Brady: Patriots still have a lot of football to play|
|´No one died´ - Belichick´s message to Patriots after stunning loss|
|Silva lauds Digne after stunning free-kick|
|Aduriz joins Messi, Ramos in LaLiga history books|
|We have a plan - Ravens coach Harbaugh prepared for Flacco return|
|´It´s difficult to accept´ - Gracia calls for introduction of VAR|
|LaLiga press on with overseas match plan despite Barcelona withdrawal|
|PSG open Coupe de France defence at fifth-tier Pontivy|
10 de diciembre 2018
|Hazard backs Sterling as Neville reveals England star´s Euro 2016 concerns|
|Everton 2 Watford 2: Digne salvages draw with 96th-minute free-kick|
|Barcelona could ´steal´ Kane, says Pochettino|
|Oakland Raiders fire general manager McKenzie|
|Struggling Villarreal appoint Garcia Plaza as Calleja successor|
|Warriors assign Cousins to G League team|
|Barcelona pull out of plan to play LaLiga game in Miami|
|Pochettino to keep an eye on Inter when Spurs face Barcelona|
|Pochettino confirms Walker-Peters set to start against Barcelona|
|Denver Nuggets add free agent Young|
|Topping Group A no magic wand for an easy knockout draw, says Simeone|
|The cake has been made, now we need the cherry - Ancelotti targets repeat at Anfield|
|Lloris braced to face ´one of the best in history´ in Messi|
|Tuchel expects Neymar to face Red Star|
|Foden signs Manchester City deal to 2024|
|It happened to me! - Valverde laughs off Dembele timekeeping|
|´Projecting´ an Argentina return? Messi met with AFA president and Scaloni|
|Erasmus expects to leave head coach role after World Cup|
|Chelsea issue suspensions pending investigation into Sterling incident|
|Kane is extraordinary – Valverde hails reported Barcelona target|
|Man behind Naomi Osaka´s rise wins WTA Coach of the Year|
|England name unchanged Test squad as Willey returns for West Indies ODIs|
|Spalletti: No issue with Icardi watching Superclasico in Madrid|
|Klopp confirms 2013 talks with ´chatty´ Napoli president De Laurentiis|
|Sri Lanka spinner Dananjaya suspended due to illegal action|
|His reaction was just brilliant – Klopp praises Sterling for response to abuse|
|Gomez renewal a ´smart decision´ for both parties – Klopp|
|Magnificent Molinari named European Golfer of the Year|
|Barcelona best option for Frenkie de Jong, insists midfielder´s father|
|Gronkowski on Miami Miracle: ´Got to make that tackle´|
|Tottenham youngster Walker-Peters signs on until 2023|
|Juventus ´more of a family´ than Real Madrid - Ronaldo|
|Kingsley Coman contemplates retirement if injury nightmare continues|
|McVay ´sick´ over offensive failings as Rams coach takes blame for loss|
|Calleja axed as Villarreal coach|
|Kenyan Drake on Miami Miracle: I couldn´t let Gronk tackle me!|
|Ronaldo: I deserved Ballon d´Or, the numbers don´t lie|
|Rugby Australia to make Cheika decision this month|
|England defender Gomez signs new Liverpool deal|
|Ronaldo wants to see Messi follow him to Italy|
|Neymar happy to play in any position for PSG - Draxler|
|Paine insists he is ´fine´ after taking blow to finger|
|Ponzio: River players will be ´idolised´ for Libertadores success|
|Champions League permutations: How Inter, PSG and Liverpool can progress|
|Kohli: India were better and deserved to win|
|Bears shut down Goff, Rams|
|India survive dramatic finish against Australia|
|Klopp calls for electric Anfield atmosphere against Napoli|
|Saints clinch back-to-back NFC South titles, Bears trump Rams|
|Bucks improve to 2-0 against Raptors with win in Toronto|
|Black Caps include Patel for Sri Lanka Tests|
|Maidana: River want Real Madrid clash|
|Cowboys top Eagles in OT behind stellar Cooper display|