Russia have left the FIFA World Cup with pride following a narrow lost out to Croatia and hence the fans should be proud of them.
Earlier in the tournament, Russia finished ahead of several more glamorous names, such as Germany, Argentina, Portugal and Spain who were beaten by Russia on penalties in the Round of 16 -, while Brazil and Uruguay were knocked out at the same stage.
Stanislav Cherchesov, the head coach says, “I’m grateful to the players for this tournament. Fifty days have flown by like one. Thanks to the fans as well, it’s down to them that we got so far. We didn’t have any standout players, it was the team that stood out. All 23 players deserve respect, they all gave it their all. Only by working hard can we get people to believe in us and love us. Now the whole country knows what kind of national team they have. I hope we’ve changed attitudes for the better.”
Ilya Kutepov says: “I’d give our tournament a mark of ‘satisfactory’. Although a lot of people didn’t believe in us before the start of the World Cup and thought we’d get knocked out at the group stage, we actually raised the bar really high. I’m heartbroken but probably only for today. It will pass, so as professionals we’ll process it and move forwards. I think this team has a future.”
The match against Croatia was the last in the career of the legendary Sergei Ignashevich, whose records are unlikely to be broken for a long time. Aleksandr Samedov, an irreplaceable part of Cherchesov’s system, has also announced his retirement from the Sbornaya. Both deserve a note of thanks.
Ignashevich revealed, “I feel happy and calm because I’m going out on a positive note: the quarter-finals of the World Cup, in a fantastic team with a true coach and players who leave everything out on the pitch. Footballers are happy when they’re surrounded by guys who give it their all.”
Artem Dzyuba said: “I want to thank my team-mates and everyone who was involved in our team. I’m proud of them and I love them like my family. We’ve become a family.
“For our whole lives, we’ve wanted to prove to the country that we want them to be proud of us, that football is alive and well here. We’re grateful to our country for these emotions. We’re heartbroken but we fought like lions.”
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