Faith in Dark Blues al­most be­yond be­lief

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT -

con­sid­ered one of the most promis­ing teams in the group. Af­ter this one vic­tory by Rus­sia, you lost faith in your side, which is a lit­tle sur­pris­ing.

“We be­lieve it is a tough op­po­nent and we are go­ing to give 100% in this game. We are not Spain, Nether­lands or Por­tu­gal. We can’t play op­po­nents with­out proper prepa­ra­tion.”

The Rus­sian na­tional side has en­joyed a trans­for­ma­tive cou­ple of years, emerg­ing from 70th in the world – the low­est-ranked team to host a World Cup – to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals of the tour­na­ment.

It could be ar­gued that they of­fer a blue­print for Scot­land, play­ing friendlies in the build-up to their home tour­na­ment and un­earthing new play­ers for the fu­ture.

Dzyuba added: “Re­sults are ul­ti­mately what mat­ters. This ap­pre­ci­a­tion of our fans, when our sup­port­ers re­alise we love them, it also turns the sit­u­a­tion around.

“We don’t have any dif­fer­ent play­ers play­ing for our side but we al­ways give 100% to the game. Re­sults and the at­ti­tude, this is the only way.”

Mean­while, Rus­sia coach Stanislav Cherch­esov bris­tled at sug­ges­tions his team would take Scot­land lightly. The Rus­sians have 15 points out of a pos­si­ble 18, with a win enough to guar­an­tee qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

They are play­ing their first game at Moscow’s Luzh­niki Sta­dium since the win over Spain last month and have won their last five games in the group.

Asked about any chance of com­pla­cency, Cherch­esov said: “Is this what you wish for? We have four games to go, 12 points up or down. We are tak­ing this game se­ri­ously no mat­ter what, re­gard­less of the ta­ble sit­u­a­tion.

“I would like to say the sit­u­a­tion in our group is still un­de­cided – we have four fix­tures to go.

“This is a sit­u­a­tion we cre­ated our­selves and we take the up­com­ing match se­ri­ously.

“You would have to ask my Scot­tish col­league about the form of Scot­land.”

No com­pla­cency: Rus­sia coach Stanislav Cherch­esov

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