Russian Federation coach laments harsh end to World Cup dream

Clay Curtis
July 9, 2018

Russia's unexpected World Cup run ended on penalties after a thrilling quarter-final against Croatia on Saturday, and the hosts left the stage having earned the admiration of fans both home and overseas for their indomitable spirit. Putin called me during the day and right now.

He said that while the economic sanctions "don't seem to be having a real frightful economic effect", the measures targeting oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin appear to be more effective.

"The president has invited the team manager and football players to attend a meeting dedicated to the World Cup results and the tournament's heritage in Russian Federation", he added.

Most experts did not expect Russian Federation to advance this far into the tournament, but against the odds, the team made it to the quarter-finals.

Cherchesov's men produced a courageous performance in the quarter-final against Croatia, netting an equalizer with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

The host nation bowed out of the tournament in the quarter-finals with a 4-3 penalty-shootout defeat to Croatia, but Cherchesov believes that his players earned the "love" and respect of the Russian public.

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"Cyber threats have reached such a scale that they could only be neutralized by combined efforts of the entire global community", Putin said. "He congratulated us on a very good game", he told a news conference.

Croatia will now face England on July 11 in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium to decide who will play in the World Cup final, on July 15, also at Luzhniki. "We have succeeded I believe, but it is time to take a step forward". You see there are changes going on in the team.

They were at it again a few days later against the Egyptians, before a different kind of effort resulted in Spain falling by the wayside in what was Russia's first ever World Cup knockout game in the post-Soviet era.

The team was ranked 70th in the world by Federation Internationale de Football Association before the World Cup started, making the host nation the lowest ranking side in the event.

"We trusted ourselves. We could only prove our worth by working hard", said Cherchesov. "You know, President Putin is KGB, ' and this and that", Trump told a rally in Great Falls, Montana.

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