Russia ramp up preparations for World Cup quarter-final with Croatia


Ready for another shootout? Keeper Igor Akinfeev put through his paces as Russia ramp up preparations for World Cup quarter-final clash with Croatia

  • Russia are gearing up for their World Cup quarter-final clash against Croatia
  • The hosts overcame Spain in the last round, winning on penalties after a 1-1 draw
  • They came into the tournament as lowest-ranked team but the dream lives on
  • Coach Stanislav Cherchesov put the team through their paces in Moscow

Perhaps only in their wildest dreams Russia would have envisaged knocking Spain out of the World Cup to reach the quarter-finals.

But now, they find themselves limbering up for a crunch clash with Croatia on Saturday for the chance to reach a the semi-final in their own back yard.

Russia were put through their paces on Thursday by coach Stanislav Cherchesov as they prepare for their most important game in a generation.

Russia trained on Thursday ahead of their crunch quarter-final clash with Croatia on Saturday

Russia trained on Thursday ahead of their crunch quarter-final clash with Croatia on Saturday

The players trained at the Federal Sports Centre Novogorsk, on the outskirts of Moscow

The players trained at the Federal Sports Centre Novogorsk, on the outskirts of Moscow

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov kept a watchful eye over his team as they trained on Thursday

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov kept a watchful eye over his team as they trained on Thursday

The hosts came into the tournament as the lowest-ranked team but have defied the odds with some hugely impressive performances to reach the last eight.

It was an almost monumental feat to hold their nerve and progress past the mighty Spain in their round-of-16 clash, especially on penalties.

Denis Cheryshev netted Russia’s fourth straight penalty to heap the pressure on Iago Aspas, who consequently missed and consigned Spain to defeat. And Cheryshev revealed the flood of emotions which overcame him following the game. 

‘I cried a little bit. And I think I might cry again. But these were good tears,’ he said in a video released by the Russian team on Monday, less than a day after beating Spain.

Denis Cheryshev (R) revealed he cried after Russia knocked Spain out in the last round

Denis Cheryshev (R) revealed he cried after Russia knocked Spain out in the last round

Shootout hero Igor Akinfeev has said the squad must stick to a proven formula for success

Shootout hero Igor Akinfeev has said the squad must stick to a proven formula for success

He underwent another arduous training session, perhaps preparing for another shootout 

He underwent another arduous training session, perhaps preparing for another shootout 

The squad appeared in good spirits ahead of their most important game in a generation

The squad appeared in good spirits ahead of their most important game in a generation

Cheryshev, 27, has endured a litany of injuries in his career, limiting his time in the national side, but three goals at this World Cup have turned him into one of the team’s leading players.

‘We worked a long time for this, I was striving for this a long time. We are really pleased. We really want to keep it like that,’ he said.

‘The whole country deserves it. I hope everyone is proud of us, is proud of our team. Now we have to go forward.’ 

Meanwhile, penalty shootout hero Igor Akinfeev, who underwent a serious working out in training, has said the squad must stick to a proven formula for success if they are to best Croatia in…



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