Russia’s World Cup Opener Alters Its Narrative, Changes Its Outlook, Pleases Putin

  • Russia’s much-maligned national team had a packed crowd in Moscow in disbelief and earned a post-game call from Vladimir Putin on a day when it changed the narrative surrounding the World Cup host.

MOSCOW — Coaches have walked out of press conferences before, but surely not like this or on an occasion so historic. It wasn’t frustration or confrontation that forced Stanislav Cherchesov from the dais, silently and abruptly, inside the Luzhniki Stadium. It was a phone call. “Head of state” on line one. More