Russian President Vladimir Putin presented the coaching staff and players of the national football team with state awards on Saturday.
The award ceremony took place at the Yekaterinsky Hall of the Kremlin. The Russian team's head coach Stanislav Cherchesov was bestowed with the Alexander Nevsky Order, while the Order of Honour was awarded to goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and central defender Sergey Ignashevich.
Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia:
- I would like to repeat that your self-sacrificing and well-organized performance has been a long-awaited gift for the millions of fans in our nation. Even people who are not usually interested in sports and football could not break away from their TV screens. You gave everybody an opportunity to take a pride in the national team, you and the whole nation. You gave us hope that our national football is coming back to life and regaining audience appeal, power and confidence. You performed brightly and confidently at the first world cup our country has ever hosted and you displayed unity, will and persistence. That you managed to successfully implement the slogan of ‘Playing For You’ was more important for fans than the final result. We absolutely count on you! You said that you can win and that is what we expect of you. That was your own achievement and everybody anticipates new victories, striking achievements and the same level of output at future tournaments to come.
Stanislav Cherchesov, head coach:
- I can now understand what it means to be knocked speechless. I could not before now. I can bindingly confirm that we did not do that because of the awards but because we represent our nation, Russia. We wished to represent our nation with honour and dignity. We succeeded at boosting the morals but our performance results could have been better. We wish to come here again and with a different status next time.