Smolov hoping for fi­nals le­gacy

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Uk World Today -

RUS­SIA striker Fy­o­dor Smolov be­lieves host­ing the World Cup will pro­vide an i mpor­tant l egacy for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Their hold­ing of t he tour­na­ment has not been with­out con­tro­versy for a num­ber of rea­sons.

How­ever, when Rus­sia get things un­der way against Saudi Ara­bia to­day in the Luzh­niki Sta­dium, Smolov ad­mits all t hat mat­ters for the host na­tion is i mme­di­ate suc­cess, al­though the wider pic­ture also has to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

“This is a spe­cial event for any coun­try i n this po­si­tion that will stay in the mem­ory for many years to come,” he said.

“All the sta­dia and in­fra­struc­ture that have been built for the World Cup will be the le­gacy of the tour­na­ment and help us to de­velop new gen­er­a­tions, teach kids how to play foot­ball and im­prove the sport in our coun­try.

“Your first game is the most im­por­tant – you start the tour­na­ment as you mean to go on.

“We’ve only got three games in the group stage. There is no time to make any plans, we just have to give it 100% from the first minute of the first match and get the best pos­si­ble re­sult.”

A good start is vi­tal for Rus­sia, who are look­ing for their first World Cup vic­tory since their open­ing match of the 2002 tour­na­ment against Tu­nisia.

The omens have not been good in the build-up as Rus­sia have failed to win in seven non-com­pet­i­tive at­tempts since beat­ing South Korea in Oc­to­ber.

“We un­der­stand to­day will be the big­gest event of our lives. The lives of ev­ery Rus­sian, prob­a­bly,” said Spar­tak Moscow mid­fielder Alek­sandr Same­dov.

“No mat­ter what, we have to get out of the group. We must win our first game.”

Rus­sia front man Fy­o­dor Smolov.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.