Host nation Russia kicked off their 2018 World Cup campaign with a thumping 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia. Denis Cheryshev scored a brace as the Russians dominated their overwhelmed opponents.
Cherchesov "relaxed" as hosts cruise to victory
Folllowing his side's thorough dismantling of the Saudis, manager Stanislav Cherchesov said "Sometimes it's a source of joy for the fans, sometimes less so. However, we are honest in what we are doing." He continued by saying: "I was relaxed yesterday and I'm relaxed today because I know my players. It is a pleasure to work with them.".
With the Russians recording the second-largest victory for a host nation in an opening game, Cherchesov was quick to point out "Every coach depends on the players, this is why I am relaxed. Why do I have to be stressed?".
He was also satisfied "that we are grateful to our squad with how they fulfilled our goals, how they played in a relaxed game under the pressure stemming from this being an opening match".
Russian head man knows what lies ahead
The next game for the hosts is against Egypt, a team many have tipped to advance to the knockout stages and Cherchesov is aware of the danger that lies ahead:"Egypt will be a different game, city and stadium, We need to meticulously prepare ourselves."
"We have made the first step, then there is a stronger opponent," he continued. "We don't know if Mohamed Salah is going to play [for Egypt]. With him or without him it is a respectably strong team, with him stronger obviously. It is just a different adversary."
Russia's two-goal hero speechless after sublime performance
The first substitute to score in the opening match of a World Cup, Cherysev said "there are no words to express what I'm feeling right now. I'm happy we won and happy I could help my team.
"I could never have dreamed of anything like this," he proclaimed. "I felt very happy when I knew I would be here in the squad but I never dreamed of anything like this".
After being left off of the 2014 World Cup by former coach Fabio Capello and struggling with numerous injuries, the 27-year old commented "I'm happy for the team and for my own family. They've suffered so much with my injures and I think they've really deserved this."
"I'm happy we've won but we shouldn't stop there," he insisted. "Any moment you relax you can be knocked out so you have to keep working and looking forward. I would like to carry on at this level so that we succeed as a team."
Cheryshev describes two-goal output
The former Real Madrid man had no issue starting the match on the bench, saying "I always respect the coach's decision. I have no right to be angry or upset even if I come on just for a minute. I can only give 100 percent."
His first goal was sheer brilliance, lifting the ball past two closing defenders before rifling into the roof of the net. "It all happened very quickly, the pass was a little bit too short so I did what I had to do, the defenders slid and I just tried to score."
The second was an exquisite half-volley from the edge of the area with the outside of his left foot, as he latched onto a knockdown by fellow goalscorer Artem Dzyuba. "We spent time working on that during training sessions," he explained. "I was trying to run with Dzyuba. He won a header and I was in control and just shot. I had no time to think."