We’re a little more than three weeks into the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and so far Russia has surprised experts and fans alike. Other Teams at the World Cup had played in the Qualifiers to be at the grandest stage of football whereas Russia on the contrary, is here because of being the host nation. They were placed in Group A alongside Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and two times World Cup winner Uruguay.
Only a little was expected from the least ranked side (79th) in the World Cup but to a surprise, Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of World Cup. A victory against the 77th ranked side wouldn’t have surprised the experts but it was the players’ hunger for goals that announced their arriving. Egypt were the second favorites in the Group A alongside Uruguay to advance to the Knock-out stages. The match between Egypt and Russia became decisive for both the teams to keep their World Cup hopes alive. Till the time Egypt’s talisman Mohammed Salah scored his first goal in FIFA World Cup, Russia had sailed past them with 3-1.
They lost their last match against Uruguay 0-3 but the result didn’t matter much as both the teams had already qualified for the next round. Finishing second in the group means the host had to face one of the World Cup favorites and 2010 World Cup winners Spain in the round of 16.
Expectations were low at best!
A fighting farewell from Russia was all expected from them and had someone told you that Russia will get past Spain, you would have laughed. The host surprised everyone surpassing the test against La Roja holding them to 1-1 with their solid defense, stretching the match into Extra Time. Even an extra 30 minutes wasn’t enough for the Spaniards to put the ball past Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. Furthermore, the Russian hero denied Koke and Iago Aspas to win the penalty shootouts 4-3, stunning the world by knocking out Spain. The hosts created history by reaching the quarterfinals for the first time.
Russia will now face Croatia in the quarterfinals. The Croatians had beaten Denmark in a highly dramatic penalty shootout 3-2 after their respective round of 16 fixture ended even 1-1. Even though Croatia is a much lower rank team than Spain but they had stunned Argentina 3-0 in their group stage matches. Neither of the teams was favorite to be at this stage of the World Cup but they are here with determination, focus and for the pride of their respective countries.
Can Russia produce another stunner on 7th July or will it be the end of the road for them?
Let us know in the Comment section Below ⬇️