FIFA WC | Monday 7.30 PM: Russia To Face Its Toughest vs Uruguay

The undefeated teams are slated to play on Monday in Samara for the top spot in their group

Updated24 Jun 2018, 10:26 PM IST
Football
3 min read

Russia’s Coach Stanislav Cherchesov insists that Russia's success at the World Cup has to do with more than just home-team advantage.

Russia will face its toughest challenge – so far – playing against Uruguay. The undefeated teams are slated to play on Monday in Samara for the top spot in their group. Both have already been assured a spot in the knockout round.

“It is not an accident that we have two wins under our belt,” Cherchesov said. “t is a group that works together well. It is a group of solidarity and cohesion.”

Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov (left) salutes Russia’s Artem Dzyuba during the Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on Thursday.
Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov (left) salutes Russia’s Artem Dzyuba during the Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on Thursday.
(Photo: AP)

It is the farthest Russia has advanced in the post-Soviet era. It will, no doubt, get harder after the match against Luis Suarez and Uruguay because the top finishers in Group A go on to face the best two from Group B – Portugal and Spain.

The host country entered the tournament with the lowest FIFA ranking in the field at No. 70. Russia comes to Samara following a 5-0 victory in the opener against Saudi Arabia, followed by a 3-1 win over Egypt.

Cherchesov said preparation is the key to Russia’s success.

We did our homework. We learned from the mistakes that didn’t allow us to be successful in the past.
Russia Coach Stanislav Cherchesov

Uruguay, however, is a much more skilled team than Russia's first two opponents. Ranked No. 14, La Celeste defeated Egypt 1-0 in its tournament opener and then had the same result against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez and Egypt’s Sam Morsy during the Group A match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Uruguay’s Luis Suarez and Egypt’s Sam Morsy during the Group A match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
(Photo: AP)

Uruguay is making its 12th appearance at the World Cup, which it has won in 1930 and 1950. More recently, the team finished fourth in South Africa in 2010 and made the round of 16 in Brazil four years ago.

Because Russia has the advantage in goal differential, it will win the group with a draw. Still, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez sees the match as an opportunity to fine-tune the team’s skills for the next round.

“We have to work on a few aspects. We will be playing against Russia. They're playing at home for their public, so it will be a great atmosphere,” Tabarez said. “It's a great opportunity for us to test improvements in the team.”

Denis Cheryshev, who some thought may not play much at the World Cup, leads Russia with three goals. The only players who have scored more in the tournament are Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku – both established international stars.

It's quite an accomplishment for Cheryshev – he plays as a left winger for Spanish club Villarreal – who failed to score in his previous 11 appearances with the national team.

I could never have dreamed of anything like this.  
Denis Cheryshev
With three goals already, Denis Cheryshev seems to have brought  a stroke of good luck for the team.
With three goals already, Denis Cheryshev seems to have brought a stroke of good luck for the team.
(Photo: AP)

Meanwhile, Lucas Torreira, the 22-year-old defensive midfielder for Uruguay, addressed the persistent rumours about him heading to Arsenal. But he didn't reveal much.

“Arsenal is a good team, one of the most important in the world; but at this moment, I am focussed on playing for my country,” he told reporters, following the match against Saudi Arabia.

Tabarez did not reveal whether Torreira would start against Russia.

The last time these teams played was in 2012 in Moscow. Suarez scored in a 1-1 draw. The old Soviet Union played Uruguay twice in World Cup matches, with the teams splitting the results.

Russian left-back player Yuri Zhirkov was out of the match against Egypt because of an ankle injury, but was expected to return to full training on Saturday. Midfielder Alan Dzagoev sustained a hamstring injury while in the opener against Saudi Arabia, but may return in the knockout round.

(For complete FIFA World Cup 2018 coverage, click here to visit our special WC page.)

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Published: 24 Jun 2018, 01:33 PM IST

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