MOSCOW, July 8. /TASS/. Russia’s two-time Olympic champion and an official with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Yelena Isinbayeva told TASS on Sunday she was proud that Team Russia had achieved a success at the 2018 FIFA World Cup under the guidance of the domestic coach.
Team Russia coached by Stanislav Cherchesov lost to Croatia in the quarter-final match at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on Saturday night. The regular and the 30-minute overtime period ended in a 2-2 draw. The Croats won in a 4-3 penalty shootout.
In its previous Last 16 match, Russia beat Spain 4-3 on penalties. Team Russia advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in its modern history.
"Please, continue in the same spirit and let such football always be, do not give up your positions. Football is more than sports. No other kind of sports unites people so much, this is power and strength. And the players of the Russian team possess such strength. I am confident that thanks to our footballers, football training sections will now be full of boys and girls," Isinbayeva said.
"I feel like I have won the Olympics: all are calling me and congratulating me with the success of our national team. Thank them for this, thank them for the most worthy football and thank them for the words addressed to us, their fans. This is important for us!" the two-time Olympic champion stressed.
"Let me be honest, I was skeptical about our prospects by the start of the World Cup and with their first wins we thought that, perhaps, this was accidental and, perhaps, the opponents were weak or, perhaps, the home ground helped. But they heard their fans, they heard the entire country. In my perception, the match against Spain was a turning point: they went out to the pitch to win rather than to play football and everyone gave all his strength and played to the end. And I’m proud that our Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov steered them to this result," the legendary pole vaulter said.
Isinbayeva said she was confident that the Russian national football team had come to believe in its strength at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"They came to believe in their strength and we believe in them with the whole of our hearts. Yes, we are disappointed that we have failed to clear for the semi-finals but the guys had performed by 200%: they played during 120 minutes two games running and this was not just running to and fro. This was true football with tactics, with the pressure and the imposition of their football style. I am proud of our team and they have shown all the best they were able to show at this World Cup," Isinbayeva said.