Russian coach Stanislav Chercheso has said he got a call from President Vladimir Putin their 5-0 mauling of Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup hosts, Thursday.
According to Cherchesov, the Russian leader called him immediately after the game.
“The head of state called me and congratulated me, told me to keep playing the way we were, to keep going,” the coach told reporters at the end of the game.
The coach also denied being anxious following the country’s poor run prior to the competition
“I am relaxed. Why should I be stressed?” Cherchesov asked. “This is just the start and not the end. Just a little more and the score could have been 1-1.
“Today was simply proof that we are on the right track, but we have to turn the page and look at the next game. Our opponents will be getting stronger by the match.”