World Cup stories: Jayaditya Gupta in Russia

The 2018 World Cup stories of ESPN's Jayaditya Gupta, updated as he takes in more of the sights and sounds of the host country Russia. Fans in India can watch highlights of the action here.

The blur that is Mbappe, Ronaldo's hang time and amazing fans

From the blur of a Kylian Mbappe run to Eden Hazard's remarkable tournament, here are Jayaditya Gupta's favourite memories from Russia 2018.

Blockbuster World Cup final sets high bar for 2022

Three scorchers, an own goal, a brain fade and VAR controversy. The 2018 final had everything, and more. Can it get any better than this?

The Biggest Match in Sport

It is the stage for the coronation of the greatest. It is where Pele became Pele, where Maradona became Maradona.

Croatia have come through the wars, literally

Croatia have played 90 minutes more than France in the past fortnight but their life experiences mean that shouldn't really make a difference in the final.

Belgium's golden generation miss best chance to win World Cup

The golden generation has blown its best chance to take that title to its logical conclusion.

The accountant who turned omnipresent midfielder

The most common description of N'Golo Kante is that he's everywhere at one time. He is both water-collector and carrier. The ultimate firefighter.

What are you, Kazan?

It's nothing you've wished for, and yet everything you could have hoped for. It demands that you pay attention and open your mind to this town.

Hazard outshines Neymar in the battle of No. 10s

The stories of Neymar and Eden Hazard couldn't have been more different than they turned out to be in the Brazil vs Belgium quarter-final in Kazan.

Why I want Belgium to beat Brazil -- and then go all the way

Here's why Jayaditya Gupta has had a change of heart and is no longer supporting Brazil at the World Cup.

Faberge Eggs, Kazan Cathedral and noisy Swedes

Jayaditya Gupta is a late entrant to St Petersburg and a fairly brief guest as he covers the lowest profile match of the Round of 16: Sweden vs. Switzerland.

It's never a bad time to visit Lake Baikal

Baikal is full of mystery but Jayaditya Gupta is most surprised to find more foreign tourists visit in the winter (temperatures around -25) than summer.

Watching Russia v Spain in the heart of Siberia

Jayaditya Gupta hops bars to find a screening spot 3400km away from the nearest World Cup venue.

Cup of life: Meet the Chatterjees, football's favourite couple

Kolkata's Pannalal and Chaitali Chatterjee have been to 10 World Cups, rubbed shoulders with Pele, consider Maradona their favourite, and share a passion for the game like no other.

Musings on train travel and Siberia-sized chicken

On Day 2 aboard the Trans-Siberian Express, Jayaditya Gupta reflects on train travel around the world and makes a successful visit to the restaurant car.

Smoked fish, fur hats and other firsts on the Trans-Siberian Express

Jayaditya Gupta has an interesting Day 1 aboard Rossiya, Train #002, the Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Vladivostok.

World Cup diaries: End of the Romanovs and start of a 3400-km journey

Jayaditya Gupta visits Ekaterinburg's Church on the Blood, the site where Nicholas II and his family were killed almost a century ago, before beginning a two-day-long train journey.

Spartak statues show how football can be more than life and death

Jayaditya Gupta on what the story of the Starostin brothers, who have a statue in their memory pitchside in Moscow's Spartak Stadium, represents.

What's it like to experience the Viking Clap?

Jayaditya Gupta experiences the Icelandic Viking Clap at the Volgograd Arena while also being impressed by the attendance figures so far in Russia.

The Battle of Stalingrad lives on outside the museums

Jayaditya Gupta walks around a city that wears its battle-scarred heart proudly on its sleeve.

How to watch Ronaldo (and not get bored)

Who needs lung-busting runs or endless step-overs when you can create time and space where neither existed, and when it matters most?

Cristiano, the pantomime villain who wouldn't settle for second

Forever infuriating, forever inscrutable, but forever in command. There will never be another Cristiano Ronaldo, the very best in the business.

A visit to Stalin's Dacha

Jayaditya Gupta travels by bus from Sochi to Stalin's Dacha - country house - and comes away unsettled by how out of sync the place's surroundings are with the terrible deeds that emanated from there.

First-timers Panama look to upset powerhouse Belgium

Panama know that if Mexico, their group-mates in the North American qualifying zone, can pull off an upset, they too stand a chance against Belgium.

Fearless Godin a throwback to Milanesque defending

Diego Godin plays tough, but plays fair. He is as commanding with the ball as he is without it. And that makes him one of the best around.

Day 4: Blaming Buenos Aires in quirky Ekaterinburg

Jayaditya Gupta appreciates the charms of Ekaterinburg -- but does not forget the lessons learnt at the last World Cup.

Day 3: Tackling time zones and boiled horns for breakfast

Jayaditya Gupta grapples with different time zones and discovers what happens when the World Cup hosts don't follow the Roman script.

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Day 2: The tourist attraction that is the Moscow Metro

On day two in Moscow, rain and a free transport pass led Jayaditya Gupta to explore the Moscow Metro and he was blown away by what he saw.

Day 1: Mkhitaryan fans, Lenin statues, never-ending escalators

On day one in Moscow, an excited Jayaditya Gupta makes small talk with an Armenian cabbie and finds himself on a never-ending escalator.