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Direct from Russia

In Russia, It Is Foggy With A Chance of Football

American Soccer Now deputy editor Noah Davis checks in with the first dispatch from Krasnodar, Russia where the United States will play on Wednesday. But does anyone know there's a game?
BY Noah Davis Posted
November 12, 2012
7:36 PM
KRASNODAR, Russia—The sun might never come out.

The picture at the top of this post is the view from my hotel window. It's been impressively foggy since first light this morning and the thick stuff shows no signs of burning off. I went for a run earlier and had trouble seeing more than 100 feet ahead of me. Not exactly the best weather for soccer.

It's also cold. Currently 36, according to, although it felt a bit higher than that to me. Maybe it's a warm 36 since there's almost no wind here.

The city isn't exactly gripped by soccer fever. During the 30-minute drive from the airport to the hotel, I saw a few signs advertising the match between the United States and Russia, but the two English-speakers I've talked to had no idea there was a game on Wednesday. If anything, they seem surprised that the Russians would play here. A small sample size, for sure, but it makes me wonder how full Kuban Stadium will be tomorrow night.

The United States team doesn't get here until Tuesday afternoon, opting to meet in Frankfurt on Monday and fly together. It's a nice bonding moment, especially for the younger members of the American squad: boarding a plane and jetting off to Russia with your countrymen.

A tough test awaits the Stars and Stripes once they do arrive. Fabio Capello's Russia team is excellent, and he has his own crew of youngsters desperate to make an impression. The match on Wednesday is a massive opportunity for anyone who gets on the field. Sink or swim time.

But for now, it's time to train and prepare. For the U.S., that means getting here. For me, that meant running before setting off to interview the team. Because of the pleasant cold, I barely started sweating during my 25-minute jog. I couldn't really see due to the ever-present fog, but I'll be honest: It's a beautiful day for some football.

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