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.
From the blur of a Kylian Mbappe run to Eden Hazard's remarkable tournament, here are Jayaditya Gupta's favourite memories from Russia 2018.
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?
It is the stage for the coronation of the greatest. It is where Pele became Pele, where Maradona became Maradona.
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.
The golden generation has blown its best chance to take that title to its logical conclusion.
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.
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.
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.
Here's why Jayaditya Gupta has had a change of heart and is no longer supporting Brazil at the World Cup.
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.
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.
Jayaditya Gupta hops bars to find a screening spot 3400km away from the nearest World Cup venue.
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.
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.
Jayaditya Gupta has an interesting Day 1 aboard Rossiya, Train #002, the Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Vladivostok.
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.
Jayaditya Gupta on what the story of the Starostin brothers, who have a statue in their memory pitchside in Moscow's Spartak Stadium, represents.
Jayaditya Gupta experiences the Icelandic Viking Clap at the Volgograd Arena while also being impressed by the attendance figures so far in Russia.
Jayaditya Gupta walks around a city that wears its battle-scarred heart proudly on its sleeve.
Who needs lung-busting runs or endless step-overs when you can create time and space where neither existed, and when it matters most?
Forever infuriating, forever inscrutable, but forever in command. There will never be another Cristiano Ronaldo, the very best in the business.
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.
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.
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.
Jayaditya Gupta appreciates the charms of Ekaterinburg -- but does not forget the lessons learnt at the last World Cup.
Jayaditya Gupta grapples with different time zones and discovers what happens when the World Cup hosts don't follow the Roman script.
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.
On day one in Moscow, an excited Jayaditya Gupta makes small talk with an Armenian cabbie and finds himself on a never-ending escalator.