NOVOGORSK, June 29 (Sputnik) - The World Cup hosts Russia “did the minimum” by advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament, but want to make “a small miracle happen” when they play their Round of 16 match against Spain at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday, Russia forward Artem Dzyuba said on Friday.
“I can’t say that we are being praised, we’ve just achieved the minimum [advancing to the knockout stage]. The things got better [than before the tournament], we made a leap forward. We want to make a little miracle happen,” Dzyuba told journalists.
Russia finished second in Group A, after defeating Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but losing 3-0 to Uruguay in their final group stage match.
Spain beat Iran and drew with both Morocco and Portugal, finishing first in their group with a total of five points.
“We should simply go onto the pitch and show the maximum [effort]. We are preparing, our thoughts are to play with dignity and show the result. This is the main game for everyone in our team. A match like this may never happen again,” Dzyuba said.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and will continue until July 15, with the matches being played in 11 cities across Russia.