Skills in one go
The history of the Russian beach soccer team is full of bright beautiful victories. The domestic team has long managed to accustom the fans to the fact that, if it goes to a major tournament, then for a trophy. In 2011 and 2013, she won the World Cup, and in 2015 she won bronze medals, losing only to the future winners of the tournament - the Portuguese.
However, in 2017, a failure occurred in the uninterruptedly issuing medal system. Russia unexpectedly failed in qualifying for the World Cup and for the first time in 11 years failed to qualify for the final part of the championship of the planet.
Fortunately, two years later, the rejuvenated team corrected its mistakes and confidently made its way to the World Cup in Paraguay. In the qualifying tournament, which took place in the summer in Moscow, Mikhail Likhachev's wards literally skated over their rivals and won seven victories. In particular, with a total score of 22: 5 in key matches, Switzerland, Spain and Italy were defeated.
The victory in the qualification allowed the Russians to get a place in the first basket during the group stage draw. As a result, Senegal got into the rivals of the domestic team, at the previous World Cup it reached the quarter-finals, the UAE never missed the stars from the sky and neighbors from Belarus, the debutants of the tournament.
With all due respect to the rivals in such a quartet of Russia, it is possible to take first place. However, already in the quarterfinals of the wards, Mikhail Likhachev will be expected with a probability of 99% by either the current Brazilian champions, or the Portuguese, one of the strongest European teams.
Two lost finals
It is curious that it was the “European Brazilians” who lost the domestic team in September in the dramatic final of the Euroleague. After the first period, the Russians were 2-0, but in the end they managed to lose - 2-4. Nobody began to make a tragedy of this failure, because the team continued to prepare for the main start of the year.
A month later, a meeting with Brazil took place, which is typical, it also turned out to be fraught with a battle for the trophy - the teams converged in the finals of the World Beach Games. Russia lost this time too, with no chance - 3: 9.
Finally, in November, immediately before the World Cup, the domestic team was left without medals of the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai. However, Likhachev took mainly reservists to this tournament and did not hide his desire to see the next reserve team before the most important tournament of the year.
Nevertheless, there was not without a pleasant event for Russia. At the traditional gala evening, Maxim Chuzhkov was recognized as the best goalkeeper in the world. He became the first domestic goalkeeper to receive such an honor.
Balanced composition and hope for medals
Having received universal acclaim, Chuzhkov will try not to face the dirt at the world championship debut for himself. In addition to him, the second goalkeeper Pavel Bazhenov, Andrey Novikov, Ostap Fedorov, Fedor Zemskov and Boris Nikonorov will also play for the first time at the world championship.
Of the representatives of the “new generation”, it is the latter that is the main hope of the team in the attack, because only in the current year the Lokomotiv striker scored 21 goals for the national team. At the same time, it’s also difficult to name the 30-year-old football player.
Until now, many honored veterans who, together with the Russian national team, obtained two world champion titles are still in service. We are talking about Yuri Krasheninnikov, Anton Shkarin, Arthur Paporotny (did not play at World Cup 13), Alexei Makarov, Dmitry Shishin, who holds the record for goals for the national team as a whole (233).
The full team arrived in Asuncion in mid-November, a week before the start of the match with Senegal, in order to have time to acclimatize. Paraguay met heat up to 40 degrees Celsius, which also remains to be used to, if at all possible.
“The conditions are difficult, during training it was about 40 degrees. It was felt that the guys were not easy. The first two matches will generally begin at 16:15 - this is the peak of the heat. But we do not have much choice, we must adapt as quickly as possible and understand that weather and living conditions are fading into the background. Everyone managed to acclimatize, the hourly difference is tolerable. We also got more complicated time zones, there is a certain experience, ”Likhachev quotes“ Championship ”.
And on Tuesday, the team managed to play a friendly match with Italy, moreover, it was judged by the captain of the last “golden team” Ilya Leonov, who is currently part of the coaching staff. The match ended in a productive draw - 3: 3. Double designed Nikonorov.
However, even the heat will not be an excuse for the Russian team, from which the highest results are expected in the homeland. Likhachev said earlier that the team is determined to compete for medals. The same was said by the RFU Secretary General Alexander Alaev.
“We do not set any specific tasks for our teams, but always expect them to play a quality game and maximize results. But the main team of Russia on beach soccer has already accustomed the fans to the fact that in almost all tournaments it gets prizes. I hope it will be the same in Paraguay, although crazy competition is expected at the World Cup, ”Alayev said.
According to the functionary, before the tournament, Brazilians are traditionally considered the main contender for gold, but the Russian team is included in the group of favorites.
“I hope that we will be able to compete for prizes. I want to wish the guys to be one team and, as usual, leave all their strength on the site. May good luck accompany them, ”Alayev said.