Igor Akinfeev, Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Golovin all train as Russia enjoy final session ahead of World Cup curtain-raiser against Saudi Arabia
- Russia face Saudi Arabia in the World Cup opener on Thursday afternoon at 4pm
- Tournament hosts Russia are the lowest-ranked side in the competition at 70
- Russia are also on a seven-game winless streak ahead of their Group A clash
We’re less than 24 hours away from the 2018 World Cup beginning and the tournament hosts have completed their final run through ahead of the opener.
And ahead of the curtain-raiser, the former trained at the Luzhniki stadium – the venue for the match.
Russia will be hoping to go full steam ahead on Thursday when they face Saudi Arabia
The World Cup tournament hosts get the global showpiece underway at 4pm in Moscow
Ahead of that they trained at the Luzhniki stadium on Wednesday – the venue for the match
Russia are the lowest-ranked side, at 70, in the competition but they will be hoping to dismiss their standing with a strong performance on Thursday.
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov had all his big names available for training such as Aleksandr Golovin, Fedor Smolov and Alan Dzagoev.
Igor Akinfeev was also present during the session as the captain went through some routine goalkeeping drills.
Ahead of the biggest game of his career, Cherchesov is in a surprisingly laid-back mood.
Aleksandr Golovin (left) and Alan Dzagoev are two of Russia’s main creative threats
Fedor Smolov will be expected to score the goals for Russia if they’re to advance from Group A
Igor Akinfeev has the honour of captaining his country as they host the 2018 World Cup
However, the goalkeeper knows he can expect to be very busy during all three matches
He traded jokes with journalists but was still reluctant to disclose any tactical info.
The Russia coach likened a British reporter to James Bond, suggested half of Russia doesn’t know the World Cup’s happening, and bemused foreigners with an untranslatable Russian-language pun about Denmark.
When a Russian reporter called on the country to support Cherchesov by imitating his distinctive whiskers, he replied: ‘I don’t know what you’re on about, but everyone come to the stadium with a moustache.’
Russia goes into the game on a seven-game winless streak. Saudi Arabia haven’t won a World Cup game since 1994.
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov (centre) knows his are the lowest-ranked in the tournament
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.