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FIFA World Cup 2018: Not me, team deserves credit - Igor Akinfeev after victory over Spain

Igor Akinfeev, thanked God, luck and the Luzhniki Stadium crowd for bringing the hosts home safely against Spain in the FIFA World Cup 2018 on Sunday.

football Updated: Jul 02, 2018 00:34 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, Moscow
FIFA World Cup 2018,Igor Akinfeev,Spain
Russia's Igor Akinfeev celebrates after his team’s victory over Spain in the FIFA World Cup 2018 on Sunday.(REUTERS)

Igor Akinfeev left his post-match press conference almost as soon as he had arrived. Akinfeev was one of the players randomly selected for customary doping tests after the game.

He did, however, have enough time to offer his thoughts on the Man-of-the-Match award.

“I don’t believe I am the Man of the Match today. The whole team is the Man of the Match,” he said, before leaving.

That was all the media got to see of Akinfeev after his heroics at the Luzhniki Stadium here today.

His head coach Stanislav Cherchesov, however, had no such problems as he spoke at length on the stunning result.

READ | Who is Igor Akinfeev – Russia’s hero against Spain in FIFA World Cup 2018

“This is the World Cup and many teams had to pack because it is one thing to be a strong team but you have to be very good on the pitch. Today we achieved the maximum of what we could have achieved,” he said.

The Russian tactician had looked away from the proceedings when the shoot-out started. “I was looking at the scoreline, so I saw everything. And my emotions? It’s only the beginning. I have to save my emotions for the future.”

He refused to divulge much about his tactics though. “I am not asking or requesting people to do this or do that. I am just portraying an idea. But it is the player who has to feel this (idea), he has to do it from within, he has to be persuaded himself,” he said.

Cherchesov revealed that there was one blow his team had received during the game, in the form of an injury to left wing-back Yuri Zhirkov. The former Chelsea full-back would play no more part in the tournament unless Russia reach the final, he said.

READ | India go down to Australia in tense shootout in Champions Trophy hockey final

Asked about whom he would like to face between Croatia and Denmark in the quarters, Cherchesov replied, “We cannot request anything. We did not choose Spain to play against.”

The aim would be now to recover from this game, he remarked.

Cherchesov left the interaction to a brief round of applause.

Then the mood in the room shifted as soon as Fernando Hierro entered to take questions.

“(My future) doesn’t worry me. It’s not important right now,” said a dejected Hierro.

“We are leaving this World Cup without having lost a single match; that is a fact,” he added.

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 00:32 IST