The World Cup is more than just a global sporting event that inspires fierce pride and intense competition. It’s also meant to unite people.
And a photo that has been shared widely is proof that sometimes it does just that.
The photo, posted on a Facebook page about football players and fans, shows an Egyptian man in a wheelchair being lifted by fellow football fans from other countries.
The photo was taken at the Fan Fest on Thursday, on the opening day of the World Cup, where people from all walks of life were cheering on their home teams.
Hassan Sedky, 25, was with his best friend Mostafa Amin to cheer on Egypt.
Amin told CNN that soon after the celebration started, all the fans “came together and everybody was cheering for everybody.”
But when it was time to cheer for Egypt, Sedky’s energy got the attention of other football fans. “We lifted him up in the air in celebration.” Amin said.
Sedky described the “amazing feeling” of being raised to the sky: “It was completely spontaneous. One minute everyone is dancing and the next I was up on the air.”
The next day, the same thing happened. Kirill Michalechenko, a Russian-based amateur photographer, saw the comradeship among the football fans and captured the second moment.
“When I saw Hassan being raised, I understood it was a great story and took some pictures. But for a few seconds, I was just standing there and watching the moment,” Michalechenko told CNN.
With the word “hermandad,” which means brotherhood in Spanish, the Facebook page where the now-viral post was published argues that football is more than just a sport.
Amin said he thinks Sedky exudes such “positive energy” that others who saw him decided to celebrate with him.
“We all decided to get him up in celebration of his attitude to life. And to show this example to the rest of the people around us.” Amin said.