Russian capital has changed perhaps more than any other European city in recent years

On Tuesday as Moscow was bathed in warm sunshine, the streets around Red Square gave a hint as to what is in store over the next few weeks as the World Cup comes to town.

A dozen flag-waving Moroccans walked through the cavernous interiors of the GUM department store, singing in perfect harmony; a Russian family posed for photographs with a quartet of Mexicans in oversized sombreros behind the domes of St Basil’s Cathedral; and three Peruvians clad in their team’s colours joined thousands of locals strolling around the newly landscaped Zaryadye Park in central Moscow.

Related: Traffic, shashlik and craft beer: what World Cup fans can expect in Russia | Andrew Roth

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