• Russia unfold pleasure with their performances and outcomes on residence soil
  • The hosts despatched Spain packing and virtually reached the semi-final
  • Head coach Stanislav Cherchesov defined causes behind achievements

The 2018 FIFA World Cup™ was an unforgettable celebration of soccer, and a significant factor on this was the very good efficiency of hosts Russia. FIFA.com sat down with Sbornaya head coach Stanislav Cherchesov to ask how his workforce managed to shock everybody by reaching the quarter-finals, the place they narrowly misplaced to Croatia on penalties after a keenly fought contest.

“Firstly, a lot credit score goes to the organisers,” Cherchesov started. “After being awarded the World Cup, we needed to persuade everybody who voted for Russia that it was the suitable resolution. All of the organisational elements had been carried out to a particularly excessive normal. This isn’t simply coming from us; our overseas friends have mentioned the identical factor. That is key as a result of, with out that, neither we nor another nationwide workforce would have been in a position to carry out effectively.

“For 2 years we had been getting ready for this goal and there was a aggressive choice course of within the squad. We had been dogged by accidents, which occurs to quite a lot of groups. We tried to handle all the problems, after which deal with the gamers we had and the opponents we had been because of face. Earlier than the World Cup, we had a superb coaching camp in Tirol, which can be the place we tuned up for the Confederations Cup a 12 months in the past. That event was our costume rehearsal; it helped us to see the place our shortcomings had been and proper them earlier than the actual factor.

“We realised that we would have liked to not simply win the Opening Match however do it convincingly, so the followers would begin believing within the workforce. The soccer fever in Russia actually took off after that recreation. The entire of the nation was patiently and nervously ready for the World Cup, however the workforce and the followers had been united proper from the primary match.”

The 5-Zero victory within the Opening Match got here as a shock to everybody, however the Sbornaya didn’t cease there and secured qualification from the group of their very subsequent fixture. The defeat to Uruguay was adopted by one of many shocks of the event, as Russia knocked out one of many pre-tournament favourites, Spain. The hosts then met Croatia within the last-eight, and the pair served up a thriller that may reside lengthy within the reminiscence, however which of his workforce’s performances happy Cherchesov probably the most?

“On an emotional stage, Spain, after all,” the top coach answered, “however when it comes to the efficiency, in all probability the Egypt recreation. We knew completely effectively what we needed to do and got down to get the win that will earn qualification for the Spherical of 16. Though a coach, like every father, shouldn’t pick favourites from amongst his kids, all 5 matches had been satisfying in their very own method and gave meals for thought.”

“We needed to win in opposition to Uruguay, however really we particularly didn’t change our techniques, so our subsequent opponent wouldn’t assume we’d do that in opposition to them,” Cherchesov continued. “We’d performed with 5 defenders beforehand, however earlier than the World Cup and on the event itself we arrange with 4 on the again. I believe this wrong-footed Spain slightly bit. They couldn’t provide you with a solution to our tactical strategy. I’m grateful to the gamers, they carried out the sport plan to the letter.”

When Igor Akinfeev caught out his leg to save lots of the decisive penalty from Iago Aspas, the nation erupted in joyous celebrations. Nonetheless, there was much more to come back: the quarter-final in opposition to Croatia will rightfully go down as one of the crucial fascinating and gripping encounters in World Cup historical past.

“I didn’t wish to say it myself, in order to not seem conceited,” Cherchesov smiled, “however because you’ve talked about it… For my part, it was the very best match of the event, each when it comes to the stress and the soccer.”

Russia scored 11 objectives in whole on the World Cup, three of that are within the operating for Objective of the Event – a feat solely Belgium can match, though the Pink Devils had been additionally the main goalscorers on the competitors. How did Russia handle to seek out the online so usually and so spectacularly as effectively?

“Now we have some individually gifted gamers,” the coach defined. “Each has their very own ‘trademark’, so to talk. [Aleksandr] Golovin is a set-piece specialist and has an important strike from distance, [Denis] Cheryshev has an exquisite left foot and everyone knows what Artem Dzyuba is able to. The lads had been centered and effectively ready. Our gamers drew reward for extra than simply their stunning objectives, which is why some prime European golf equipment are thinking about a number of of them. That’s clearly pleasing to us.”


© Getty Photographs

Exceeding expectations

That Russia made it so far as the quarter-final is certainly a superb achievement, however after the painful penalty shootout defeat to Croatia, gamers and coaches alike admitted they had been aiming for extra. Now that the mud has settled and the champions have been topped, it’s attainable to evaluate the outcome with a cool head.

“1 / 4-final is a reasonably good outcome for us, if we analyse the performances,” Cherchesov agreed. “Croatia beat England and performed effectively within the remaining, so we are able to safely say Russia deserve a great mark. Nonetheless, there’s just one World Cup Trophy and it went to France…

“We performed in opposition to the French in March and noticed how good they had been again then. We had been criticised for our ends in the warm-up matches in opposition to Argentina, Spain, Brazil and France, however these matches gave us loads to ponder and helped us to arrange for the World Cup. We’ll come throughout France once more and I believe the expertise we’ve constructed up will assist us to play effectively. However there are not any ifs and buts in sport: France are the world champions and I congratulate my colleague Didier Deschamps. I used to be shocked at how effectively their star gamers put the workforce first.”

What now for Russia after the World Cup on residence soil?

“Every thing strikes on and adjustments. A number of gamers have retired from worldwide soccer, though I’ve joked how [Sergei] Ignashevich had apparently already retired from the nationwide workforce two years in the past, so he higher not change his cellphone quantity! There was a lot emotion, the followers had been delighted, however we have to calmly consider how we did. Now we have to analyse our efficiency and take our subsequent steps ahead.”

Through the emotional ceremony in honour of the Sbornaya at Vorobyovy Gory final week, Cherchesov declared from the stage that the workforce is able to going even additional at Qatar 2022.

“If I didn’t consider it, I wouldn’t have mentioned it,” Stanislav concluded. “Gamers and coaches come and go, however the Russian nationwide workforce stays. No matter who’s within the line-up in 4 years’ time, we have now to consider in and assist them.”

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