MOSCOW, July 6, 2018 ( BSS/TASS)- On Thursday, the second consecutive World
Cup day without games, stadiums in Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Sochi and Samara
were preparing to host their last games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Russian national team arrived in Sochi for the quarterfinal clash
against Croatia on Thursday, after a morning training session at the team’s
base in Novogorsk, near Moscow. All team members took part, except Yuri
Zhirkov, who continues his recovery and trains under an individual program.
Alan Dzagoyev, who received an injury during the World Cup’s opening match
of Russia-Saudi Arabia, said he had recovered completely and will be able to
take part in the quarterfinal.
“Right now, everything’s fine, today I trained with the others, and I’m
ready for the game,” he said.
The team arrived in Sochi on Thursday evening, and the city greeted them
with festive illumination on the local TV tower, visible from various parts
of the city. Near the hotel, the team was greeted by about 70 fans, waving
national flags and chanting slogans.
Their opponents, Croatia, arrived to the Black Sea resort on Monday, the
day after they defeated Denmark in the Round of 16. Croatia shows maximum
The national team of Croatia also trained on Thursday, but at the Adler-1
training field in Sochi. Mateo Kovacic, who received a shoulder injury in the
clash with Denmark, joined his team after recovery period.
Neither Russia, nor Croatia will train at the Fisht stadium where the
quarterfinal game will be held. The decision was made in order to preserve
the turf of the Sochi arena.
Dejan Lovren, a centre back for Premier League club Liverpool and the
national team, said the Croatian squad demonstrates great football during the
2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and expressed hope that his team will be at
least third at this year’s tournament, like it was twenty years ago.
“Our team is good now, the team remembers and honors the 20-year-old
achievement. We work hard and we hope that we will be able to do something
special, too,” he said.
Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Chairman Arkady Dvorkovich believes that
the Russian team will manage to defeat its opponents if it remains devoted
and follows the head coach’s plan.
“The most important thing is to fulfill the plan of the coach. We see that
those plans work, all they need is to fulfill them. We believe in our
players,” he told TASS. Kazan greets Belgium and Brazil
The Volga area city of Kazan will host the highest-profile quarterfinal
game – between Belgium and Brazil – at its Kazan Arena stadium on July 6.
Both teams arrived to the city on Thursday. Upon the arrival to the hotel,
the Brazilian team was welcomed by a crowd of about 500 fans, waving national
flags, singing songs and beating drums. Samara, Nizhny Novgorod prepare for
last World Cup games
The Volga area city of Samara will host a quarterfinal game between Sweden
and England. The Swedish team arrived in the city on Thursday, while England
still stays at its training base in St. Petersburg and is expected to depart
for Samara on Friday.
Another quarterfinal game will be held in Nizhny Novgord, where Uruguay
will clash with France for a place in the semifinal. The participation of
Uruguay’s star footballer, Edinson Cavani, is still under question after an
injury in the Round of 16 game against Portugal.
“I don’t want to take part in media games. You will find this out in 24
hours,” he said. “We are not pretending, we just don’t want to create any
rumors,” head coach Oscar Tabarez said.