World Cup Hosts Russia Disappointed but Exit With Pride

Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov said his team were understandably disappointed with the result.

“I believe that the keyword is how we leave — it’s better to leave when you feel pride,” Cherchesov told reporters. “We don’t have any chances to win this Cup and of course we are sad. But we showed our worth.”

Fyodor Smolov had his first penalty saved by Danijel Subasic and, although Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved a Mateo Kovacic kick, their fate appeared sealed when Mario Fernandes fired wide from their third attempt.

Cherchesov said the hosts, who were ranked 70th by FIFA before the World Cup, should aim higher.

“From the first second I put together this team, I knew where it was heading,” the coach added. “We have succeeded I believe, but it’s time to take a step forward.”

Cherchesov said Russian President Vladimir Putin had called him before the match and after.

“Vladimir Putin talked to me during the day and he called me right now, and congratulated me on a very good game,” Cherchesov said. “We told him we were disappointed. He said that we should keep our eyes open and take the next steps.”