Whenever it is match day at the World Cup, you don’t have to ask which teams are playing.
As early as five hours to kick off, fans start arriving at the venue of the game in the colours of their team chanting slogans and singing songs that leave the atmosphere in no doubt of what the World Cup truly is.
As the hours lessen to kick-off, the small clusters start to grow into sizeable numbers and before you know it there is a sea of passion, colour and organised madness.
Sounds of drums can be heard, sober and drunks all act like they are high and volunteers can be seen directing fans to their respective gates depending on the number on their tickets.
This is standard practice at all World Cup games.
But it was not the case on Tuesday when England played Colombia in the final second round game of that stage.
The scenes at Spartak Stadium were unusual for a match involving England.
For most of the time, it felt like Colombia were going to play the match in Bogota.
Fans who alighted from the train stations of Spartak and Tushinskaya, the two nearest to the stadium, were all dressed in the yellow, blue and red of Colombia.
They far outnumbered their English counterparts and it was hard to tell which team Colombia were going to face.
The refreshments area inside the stadium was dominated by Colombians while inside the ground, the South Americans easily outnumbered the English.
According to journalist Sam Wallace, the chief football writer for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph newspapers in England, many fans of the Three Lions opted out of the tournament because of politics.
“The political tensions between Russia and England worried and scared many,” Wallace observed.
“There was talk that their safety wouldn’t be guaranteed so they stayed home.”
But there is more, according to Wallace.
“English fans can sometimes be idiots and a vast number, the hooligans, can’t come because they have been banned from travelling.
“Many passionate but badly behaved ones rioted in Marseille at Euro 2016 and they can’t come here.”
During the match, Colombians enjoyed the far greater support and their deathly silence when Eric Dier buried his head told of a story of widespread disappointment.
According to Wallace, many are going to board or have already boarded the flight to Samara for the quarter final with Sweden but do not have tickets.
The irony in all this is that their team is doing well when there is little or no pressure.
In previous World Cup tourneys wherever tens of thousands of English fans travelled to the global party, there was disappointment for the Three Lions.
Whatever magic Gareth Southgate has employed, it is working.
English fans are some of the fewest in Russia but should they beat Sweden to reach the last four, history will be made. Not since 1990 England has reached the last four.
And likewise there will be an upsurge of fans flying in from all over.
*The writer is this paper’s Sports Editor