Luzhniki stadium, Moscow -- «I completely shared in their joy at qualification,» said AFP photographer Yuri Cortez, who was literally submerged by celebrating Croatian footballers after the goal that sent them to the World Cup final.
Istanbul --Covering Turkey as a foreign journalist involves working under a very long shadow. A shadow cast by a still hugely vigorous 64-year old man, 1.85 metres tall, who has ruled the country for the last 15 years. And after winning elections on June 24, will do so for at least another five years, possibly ten. Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"It’s a really strange feeling, looking at 22 men running seven floors below you. As long as I look at the game below through my lens, then I’m all right. But if I look at it with my own eyes, I start to get dizzy," writes Jewel Samad, who along with colleague Kirill Kudryavtsev has a unique view of the World Cup -- up from above....
A 30-minute drive around the Russian town of Nizhny Novgorod squashed any unease Qatar-based correspondent David Harding had about his month-long stay in the country that has such dismal relations with the West at the moment.
"The welcome from the Russians has been fantastic," he writes. "For just a few weeks covering the World Cup has been the one thing people predicted it would not be: fun."
"In Egypt, the love of the land is intermixed with the smell of the Nile, the giant river that we consider a gift of God; a symbol of fertility that waters the land along its banks," writes Mohamed el-Shahed, a photographer based in Cairo who grew up in the Egyptian countryside and goes back whenever he can to escape the suffocating megapolis.
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