Thanks to the wonders of modern transport, many supporters can now travel across the globe to see their national teams in action. Making a journey by bicycle across four countries to see your heroes is a far less common occurrence, however.
Yet one man who has done just that is Saudi Arabia fan Fahd Al-Yahya, who has travelled more than 5,145 kilometres on two wheels to Moscow, where he will watch his side take on the host nation in the Opening Match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Speaking to FIFA.com about his long-distance journey, the intrepid cyclist said: “The prince of the Riyadh region, Faysal Ben Bandar Abdulaziz, gave me the national flag and I’ve brought it all the way to Russia, to the Saudi embassy in Moscow. I gave it to the ambassador, Raed Qrimli, on Tuesday.”
The 28-year-old cyclist added: “I made the trip so I can support the Green Falcons at the World Cup.”
Al-Yahya also visited the national team’s Russia 2018 base in Saint Petersburg, where he received a warm welcome from Adel Ezzat, the president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), who hailed his “determination in overcoming every barrier in support of his team”.
Al-Yahya travelled more than 5,145 kilometres in 75 days on his epic journey. Along the way he suffered slight head and back injuries in an accident with a lorry.
While Russia will have a numerical advantage in the stands at the Opening Match, the Saudis will still be cheered on by a sizeable contingent of fans, who have travelled to Moscow with the hope of a positive result for their side.
But having followed the national team by bike all the way to Russia 2018, Al-Yahya has made alternative plans for the return journey. As he explained with a smile: “It’s a very long bike ride and I’ll be flying back to Riyadh instead."