Russia’s players have proved they are worthy World Cup participants after winning their two opening games of the tournament, the Kaliningrad Region’s Sports Minister and five-time Olympic synchronized swimming champion Natalia Ishchenko said on Thursday.
Russia qualified for the round of 16 after defeating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game of the tournament on June 14 and beating Egypt 3-1 on Tuesday.
"Our team really did well and in the last two matches they proved that they 100 percent deserved to participate in this tournament, that they were ready to fight... It's a great honor and responsibility that the World Cup takes place here [in Kaliningrad]. Kaliningrad benefited a lot thanks to the World Cup," Ishchenko told journalists.