- Winger Aleksandr Samedov and striker Fyodor Smolov spoke ahead of Russia 2018
- Smolov and Samedov lead the team’s goals and assists charts
- They both agree “the first aim is to get out of the group”
By Igor Borunov, with Russia
Оn the start of their home World Cup
Samedov: The motivation for these tournaments is special. Every day you try to work at your maximum level. I already know what a World Cup is all about and how intense it is. It’s the highest stage you can play on. I’m staying calm in my preparations because psychology is an important factor too, although the pressure is there. It’s our home World Cup and we’re kick-starting the tournament. The whole world will be watching us.
Smolov: This is a special event for any country in this position that will stay in the memory for many years to come. All the stadiums and infrastructure that have been built for the World Cup will be the legacy of the tournament and help us to develop new generations, teach kids how to play football and improve the sport in our country. We want the tournament to get started already! Your first game is the most important; you start the tournament as you mean to go on. We’ve only got three games in the group stage. There is no time to make any plans, we just have to give it 100 per cent from the first minute of the first match and get the best possible result.