Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov says the World Cup hosts hope for many more celebrations after putting one foot in the last 16 by beating Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 3-1 on Tuesday. The men in red have scored eight times in their first two matches after also beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game in Moscow last Thursday.
The results put Russia on the verge of making the knockout stage of a World Cup for the first time since the Soviet era. But Cherchesov says the resounding wins count for nothing and that Russia still have plenty of work to do.
“The World Cup is not awarded to the team that scores eight goals first,” Cherchesov told reporters after the match. “We took a step into the next round and now we have to see how we have to prepare for what happens next. We have to do our homework.”
Russia had gone on a record seven-game winless streak entering the tournament and been roundly criticised by the media for their effort and quality of play. Cherchesov said his team never panicked.
“We do not use the word ‘problem’ around here,” he said.
Russia conclude their group stage play against two-time World Cup champions Uruguay. Cherchesov said he expected the South Americans to be tougher opponents.
“They are a completely different team. They are on a different level.” Asked if this was the happiest day of his life, Cherchesov replied: “I hope there are more to come.”