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FIFA World Cup 2018: Free-flowing Russia break their own goal-scoring records

Russia have now scored 8 goals in the FIFA World Cup 2018, which is more than the combined number of goals they scored in 2002 and 2014 and the most they’ve scored since 1986.

football Updated: Jun 20, 2018 01:48 IST
Shayne Dias
Shayne Dias
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Russia vs Egypt,Russia football team,FIFA World Cup 2018
Russia players celebrate after the FIFA World Cup 2018 Group A match vs Egypt at the Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 19, 2018. (REUTERS)

Before the FIFA World Cup 2018 began, Russia were considered the third favourites at best to make it out of Group A and into the knockout stages. (HIGHLIGHTS)

However, their 3-1 win over Egypt all but sealed their place in the second round and also all but knocked out the African side, who were long considered favourites alongside Uruguay to qualify as one of the top two sides from the group.

Russia’s sheer dominance in the first two group games has taken fans and experts by surprise and has also seen them break their own goal-scoring records.

It’s worth noting that Russia have played in the tournament three times (excluding 2018) since the Soviet Union collapsed and every time they have bowed out of the group stages.

It certainly didn’t help their cause that they weren’t exactly prolific goal-scorers. Russia scored 6 goals in the 1994 tournament, their best haul as a nation independent of the Soviet Union.

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Their next appearance in 2002 saw them find the back of the net only four times. Amazingly, they would continue to get less proficient as time wore on.

Qualifying for the tournament after 12 years in 2014, they could only score two goals and failed to even register a single win as they once again bowed out in the group stages.

But this edition of the tournament has seen the national team finally find their scoring boots. They have already scored eight goals, which is more than the number of goals they scored in 2002 and 2014 combined.

Not only that, this is the best haul of goals they’ve had in the tournament since 1986 – the then-Soviet Union had scored 12 goals in the tournament.

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The comfort of home conditions has certainly helped the Russians, as has the fact that despite being the home team, they do not carry on their shoulders the weight of expectations.

However, even that isn’t enough to explain their recent prolific streak in front of goal. Not that Russian fans will be complaining, of course!

And given the kind of form they have shown in the tournament thus far, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see them go on to break more goal scoring records.

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 01:47 IST