Russian national team defeated Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of FIFA World Cup 2018.
Manager Stanislav Cherchesov provided his comments at a press conference following the match.
- You stepped out to take a phone call as Denis Cheryshev was answering questions from journalists. Who called you?
- It was the head of state. He asked me to share his thanks with the team for the performance that they put on and he asked me to keep playing like this.
- How is Alan Dzagoev who was substituted in the first half?
- It remains unknown. But judging by his abrupt halt it seems that acute pain he was suffering prevented him from continuing movement. Based on our experience, that type of injury could be rather unpleasant. But I rather keep from misleading anybody. Let us wait for the medical examination results tomorrow. Of course, we rather not lose any players as each and every player is precious.
- Is there a risk that football players may overestimate the significance of today’s victory?
- No, there is no such risk. We clearly understand what we are doing. We have already discussed with players that the World Cup is a tournament that only starts with the match against Saudi Arabia. So this is not the end. We have won 5-0 and earned three points today. But we need to keep earning points to qualify from the group round. We have previous experience at the Confederations Cup when we also won our first match but failed to qualify anyway. We are not getting ahead of ourselves. We saw that we are on the right track but we should forget this game and concentrate on the next one. Our next match is against Egypt. We already stated immediately after the World Cup draw that our opponents are trending up and each subsequent team is stronger than the previous one. We are still unaware if Mohammed Salah will appear on the pitch but even without him, Egypt is a strong team.
- But you can understand that everybody will talk about your win over Saudi Arabia...
- That is better than if I received a call and was told that we made a poor performance. Yes, indeed, we won 5-0 and everybody is talking about that. Players must not forget about that, as it was the opening match of World Cup 2018 which brought together many fans. But we must concentrate and get ready to our next match. I also need to emphasize that we do not have the main lineup, we only have a starting lineup. That worked today. And let’s see how that works in our next match.
- Do you agree with Saudi Arabia manager Juan Antonio Pizzi who said that Russian national performed in the same manner as during previous matches?
- I can partially agree and I understand what he meant. We played pretty much like before, employing pressing and getting use of standard positions. But we also showed better discipline and played more compact today. I would also like to mention that Pizzi is a great manager and I wish him every success.
- Please tell about the substitutions...
- We know all about our players’ conditions, both physical and psychological. So when Cheryshev was brought in, he was expected to strengthen our performance. And he fulfilled the instructions I gave him. Everyone of 23 players in our squad is important. And I believe in everyone like I believe in myself.