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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

World Cup 2018: The best feel-good fan moments so far 

From fans picking up rubbish after a match to celebrating fans of another team, here are some of best heart-warming moments from the World Cup

Mexico fans celebrate at the end of the World Cup group F match between Germany and South Korea, at a public event at the Zocalo Square. AFP
Mexico fans celebrate at the end of the World Cup group F match between Germany and South Korea, at a public event at the Zocalo Square. AFP

As the world comes together for another World Cup, there are bound to be stories of kindness and feel-good moments. These are some of the most heart-warming occurrences that have happened in Russia so far.

Helping a friend

A story that has gone viral shows a deaf and blind Brazil fan named Carlos Jr enjoying the World Cup. The 27-year-old is able to still take in all of the action with help of friends and a sign-language instructor. He was born with a rare genetic disorder called Usher syndrome that affects his ability to see and hear. However, with a rigged-up tabletop model of the field and friends by his side who provide sign-language interpretation as well as social-haptic communication (touch messages) on his back, he's able to keep up with every foul, goal and celebration as it happens live.

Click to watch the video:

Meeting their hero

A group of Russian fans of Newcastle United named the Moscow Mags got a chance to meet their hero after tweeting former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer until they got his attention. The retired footballer is at the World Cup covering the event for the BBC. Evgeny Kolobrodov, who has been a fan since 1997, uploaded a photo of himself and the rest of the Moscow Mags with Shearer and called it "the best day of our lives":

Thanking the other team

When South Korea upset Germany to send Mexico through to the knockout rounds (and send the defending champions home packing), you can bet that their fans were sure to thank the South Koreans. After their 2-0 win, fans from Mexico were soon spotted on social media celebrating their Asian counterparts.

Some fans even went to celebrate with the Korean consul general Byoung-jin Han outside the Korean embassy in Mexico City:

While others celebrated with any fan of South Korea:

Keeping the stadiums clean

Japan made headlines in 2014 for cleaning up the rubbish in the stadiums after their team played in Brazil, a tradition that has continued into Russia. People were happy to once again see Japanese fans partaking in the good deed, but even more impressed that the goodwill has spread to supporters from other countries as well, such as Senegal, Panama and Colombia.

Here's a video showing a Colombian fan congratulating fans of Japan after their teams played one another:

And Senegal fans also got in on the tidying act:

Lifting up a wheelchair-bound Egyptian fan

In another inspiring moment, a photo from the opening day of the tournament showed football fans at Fan Fest helping lift a wheelchair-bound Egyptian fan above their shoulders as part of a celebration and a moment of unity. The moment was captured on camera and quickly went viral.

The 25-year-old fan, named Hassan Sedky, described the experience in an interview with CNN. "It was completely spontaneous. One minute everyone is dancing and the next I was up on the air."

Cheering up a young supporter

Iain Meiklejohn, rooting for Poland, uploaded a video of his young son in tears after their team was eliminated in a 3-0 loss to Colombia in the group stages. However, the video was to highlight the kindness of fans from the opposing team. They tried their best to cheer the boy up, patting him on the head and chanting: “Polska, Polska.”

Meiklejohn tweeted: “The Colombian fans were absolutely fantastic with him after the game – easily the best group of supporters I’ve ever sat with. Amazing support.”

He even shared an update from his son the next day:

Panama fans celebrate their first ever World Cup goal

They didn’t win in their opening two games. They weren’t even close. But for fans of Panama, seeing their squad score their first goal in the history of the tournament (thanks to 37-year-old Felipe Baloy) was a sight worth celebrating – even if it was in a 6-1 loss to England. This was the team's first time qualifying for the biggest football tournament on the planet, but even if they aren't going to advance, it's still a moment to remember for Panama's fans.

Here's the reaction from the fans inside the stadium:

And their fans celebrating at home:

Ahmed Raza’s moment in the spotlight

The 15-year-old from Sialkot, Pakistan, was invited to be part of the coin toss between Brazil and Costa Rica. The past three generations of his family have been involved in the business of hand-stitching footballs for the World Cup.

His favourite player is Brazilian star Neymar, so here's hoping the two got a chance to connect at some point. His journey from his hometown to Russia will be filmed for a documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

As the World Cup rolls on, we will continue to update this story

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