MOSCOW, June 13 (Sputnik) - FC Krasnodar and Russia striker Fedor Smolov said on Wednesday that the team had “to give 100 percent" from the very first match at the FIFA World Cup.
Russia are set to play Saudi Arabia in the World Cup opening match at the 81,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday.
"The opening match is the most important one... There are just three matches in the group. There's no time to make plans, from the very first minute of the very first match you have to give 100 percent... We've done an enormous job. The team is physically ready," Smolov was quoted as saying by FIFA's official website.
The player also said that the team's first opponent, Saudi Arabia, were a skilled team and that the current objective for Russia was to reach the knockout stage.
"At the moment the goal is to make it into the knockout stage. I hope we achieve it. And then we'll see," Smolov said, adding that he was sure the team would show their true worth at the World Cup.
Smolov was the Russian Premier League’s top goalscorer in 2016 and 2017 and has been capped 32 times for Russia, scoring 12 international goals since his senior debut in 2012.
Russia will host its first-ever FIFA World Cup from June 14 to July 15 in 11 cities across the country. Saudi Arabia and the hosts will also face Egypt and Uruguay in their Group A matches.