Stanislav Cherchesov smiled when asked
By a Danish journalist whether he had a message for the Russian people on the eve of the opening match of a World Cup finals that is taking place in the largest country on the planet.“You would be hard pushed to get around the labyrinth of the Russian soul,” the Russia coach replied. “I think [url=http://www.authenticphillieshop.com/authentic-10-darren-daulton-jersey.html]Darren
Daulton Youth jersey[/url] half the country will find out that we have a World Cup when the whistle blows. It takes a long time for us to start driving but I think when we press the foot on the pedal, we go all the way.”
Russia, in other words, is not exactly gripped by World Cup fever in the way Brazil was four years ago, and the extent to which that mood shifts from apathy to excitement over the next couple of weeks is likely to hinge on whether the lowest-ranked team in the tournament can defy expectations and avoid the ignominy of being among the first to leave their [url=http://www.officialcowboysfootballauthentic.com/COWBOYS-RANDY-WHITE-JERSEY]http://www.officialcowboysfootballauthentic.com/COWBOYS-RANDY-WHITE-JERSEY[/url]
Hopes are not high in that respect. The front page of the Moscow Times, 24 [url=http://www.washingtoncapitalsofficialonline.com/Adidas-Alex-Chiasson-Jersey]http://www.washingtoncapitalsofficialonline.com/Adidas-Alex-Chiasson-Jersey[/url]
hours before Russia face Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium, provided a reasonable gauge of the mood in the country. “Ageing and inexperienced: why Russia is doomed to fail” ran the headline. “Destined for defeat” screamed the words above the article inside that lamented Russia’s failure to invest in a new youth programme once they were awarded the World Cup.
The fact Cherchesov’s players are without a win in their past seven matches and have registered only one shot on target in 180 minutes has fuelled the inescapable sense of pessimism, with plenty of media commentators, as well as former players, describing the current generation as the worst Russia team ever.
With all that in mind, Cherchesov could have been forgiven for walking into a packed media room in Moscow on Wednesday afternoon and looking like a rabbit staring into the headlights when the microphone was passed around the auditorium, yet nothing could have been further from the truth. The 54-year-old cracked jokes about James [url=http://www.titansauthenticofficialstore.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_DERRICK_HENRY_JERSEY.html]Derrick
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“I can tell you I don’t read anything,” Cherchesov said, when quizzed about the negative backdrop in Russia. “Getting criticism is a natural thing in the world that we live in today. [url=http://www.authenticstlouiscardinals.com/Brett-Cecil-Jersey]Brett
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That may be easier said than done, not least because there are clear signs that the Russia players are not as detached from the scathing media coverage as their manager.“I see all that is happening from the negative side and I want to ask the media, because you [url=http://www.cardinalsofficialauthenticonline.com/cardinals+andy+lee+jersey]http://www.cardinalsofficialauthenticonline.com/cardinals+andy+lee+jersey[/url]
are broadcasting to the people, to be positive,” Artem Dzyuba, the Zenit St Petersburg striker, said. “The tournament has not started yet and [the media] are behaving aggressively.”
In Saudi Arabia, the next-lowest-ranked team in the World Cup, Russia could not have asked for more obliging opponents for their first game in a group that also features Egypt and Uruguay, yet few within the host nation are taking victory for granted. Serious injuries to Viktor Vasin, Georgy Dzhikiya and Alexander Kokorin have robbed Russia of three nailed-on starters and raised the possibility of Sergei Ignashevich, who effectively retired from international football two years ago and turns 39 the day before the final, starting in central defence against Saudi Arabia.