THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Russia prove doubters wrong – for now

WORLD CUP: Russia have proved the doubters wrong – for the moment.

FootballWorld-Cup
By AFP

Friday 15 June 2018, 09:35AM


Russia’s midfielder Aleksandr Golovin (bottom left) celebrates scoring his team’s fifth goal with Russia’s defender Mario Fernandes (top), Russia’s midfielder Roman Zobnin (second right) and Russia’s defender Sergey Ignashevich (right) during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow last night (June 14). Photo: Patrik Stolllarz / AFP

Russia’s midfielder Aleksandr Golovin (bottom left) celebrates scoring his team’s fifth goal with Russia’s defender Mario Fernandes (top), Russia’s midfielder Roman Zobnin (second right) and Russia’s defender Sergey Ignashevich (right) during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow last night (June 14). Photo: Patrik Stolllarz / AFP

The World Cup hosts showed nerves of steel and ruthless finishing in thumping Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament’s opening match before an anxious crowd of nearly 80,000 in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium last night (June 14).

The emphatic result transformed the men in red from villains to heroes and gave Russians a rare sporting reason to rejoice.

Everyone from senators and regional leaders to President Vladimir Putin himself congratulated coach Stanislav Cherchesov for Russia’s biggest World Cup victory in post-Soviet history.

It came at Luzhniki Stadium – the crucible of both Russian and Soviet sport – with the weight of an expectant but sceptical nation on their shoulders.

“The head of state called me and congratulated me,” Russia’s moustachioed manager said matter-of-factly after the match.

Putin “told me to keep playing the way we were, to keep going”.

“Give me five!” Moscow’s Sport Express newspaper exclaimed in a front-page headline. “Russia, we love you!”

It was not always like this for Cherchesov and his charges.

The team entered the tournament without tasting victory in more than eight months.

They had registered just one shot on target in their last two World Cup warm-ups.

Four of Russia’s defenders and a starting forward had been ruled out for the tournament with injuries.

One Moscow news website dubbed the match up between the 70th-ranked Russians and the 67th-ranked Saudis – the two worst teams in the tournament – as “Bad vs Worse”.

Cherchesov kept fiddling around with formations and few could tell which players he would start once British pop star Robbie Williams finished belting out his opening ceremony set.

It all worked out in the end.

But it will all get that much harder from here on out.

Central Phuket

“It could have easily been 1-1 if we were not careful,” said Cherchesov.

“And our opponents will be getting stronger by the match.”

Russia next play Egypt on June 19 in Saint Petersburg and finish off Group A against two-time World Cup winners Uruguay in Samara on June 25.

They are still not guaranteed the top-two finish that would ensure they do not join South Africa as only the second World Cup host nation to fail to qualify from their group.

And the Egypt match got that much bigger with the return to fitness of Mohamed Salah ahead of the Pharaohs’ own clash today (June 15) with Uruguay.

Salah has not played since injuring his shoulder in Liverpool’s Champions League final loss to real Madrid.

If fit, he is precisely the type of clinical finisher to give Russia’s hobbled defence nightmares.

And Cherchesov’s problems in the back were already so dire that he had to ask 38-year-old Sergei Ignashevich to come out of international retirement for one last curtain call.

Ignashevich started yesterday but rarely had to touch the ball against the Saudis.

He and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev can expect to be far busier with Salah leading the Egyptian charge.

Yet Russians are still riding a wave of jubilation and the World Cup is off to a scintillating start.

“I was really worried, but it turns out we are not that bad!” store manager Anton Irofeyev said, summing up the mood of many Russian fans.

You can keep up to date with all the results and league standings by following The Phuket News by clicking here.

You can also get a free printable copy of The Phuket News World Cup wallchart via the link.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
An atrocious start to ‘low’ season

It is so gratifying to read these game fish are released back into the ocean where they belong, it s...(Read More)


GoAir to launch India’s first direct Phuket flights

One can die in a similar manner, no matter which country you care to visit. Why the need to Google ...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

Don't you understand the article?...(Read More)


Satree Phuket students injured in highway van accident

How do you know it was the fault of the driver/s? Crystal ball?...(Read More)


Police arrest three drug suspects on the same Phuket Town street

Don't you read of the massive amounts of drugs being seized? ...(Read More)


Satree Phuket students injured in highway van accident

Another nonsense head to head accident involving 2 thai drivers. Where they fit for for driving, hav...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

Why the whole of Phuket not ends the use of plastic straws and styrofoam food boxes by Government o...(Read More)


Phuket police transferred amid extrajudicial killing probe

Live by the sword, die by the sword. Son nam na....(Read More)


Final preparations being made to raise ’Phoenix’

Has the Phoenix by now lifted or not? If not, why not?...(Read More)


GoAir to launch India’s first direct Phuket flights

Just what exactly should tourists be "googling"...? The fact that Thailand is the best pla...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018