Russia boss warns not to get carried away by World Cup euphoria
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov says he and his players cannot afford to get caught up in the World Cup euphoria sweeping the host nation.
Victory over Croatia tomorrow in Sochi will see Russia reach a World Cup semi-final for the first time and continue their remarkable run in the tournament.
Russia were given little hope of even getting out of the group stage, but beat former winners and highly-fancied Spain in the last 16 and are on a roll ahead of the Croatia clash.
The country has been gripped by World Cup fever, but Cherchesov said he and his players must remain focused if they are to carry on defying the odds.
“I will tell you about myself as a coach,” said Cherchesov. “I try not to watch TV, I don’t read newspapers, I just concentrate on my job.
“Reminding ourselves about Spain is a good story. But let’s look forward. People are euphoric? The media can be that. The tournament goes on.
“I’m at an age where I can’t be daydreamer. I set goals. We have a goal now. This is not the group stage any more. We are not daydreamers.
(Image: Getty Images Europe)
“We have our eyes open and out ears. But if you are praised all the time, it’s not good.
“We have seen Spain, theoretically one of the best, have gone home. We must start from the off tomorrow against Croatia.
“I hope the most important games are still ahead of us.
“We will start at 0-0 and will try to score from there. This is knockout football.”
Russia’s heroics have drawn praise from President Vladimir Putin, who has personally called Cherchesov to offer his congratulations throughout the tournament.
“The President has been calling me,” said Cherchesov. “He called me before and after the Spain game. It’s an extra boost for us in terms of motivation.”