July 1, 2018 / 6:43 PM / 9 months ago

No excuses from Russia coach for digging in against Spain

Soccer Football - World Cup - Round of 16 - Spain vs Russia - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - July 1, 2018 Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov celebrates after winning the penalty shootout REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Spain are a better team than Russia and so the hosts’ coach Stanislav Cherchesov was making no excuses for a defensive line-up that held out for a victorious penalty shootout in Sunday’s World Cup round of 16 match.

Recalling Spain’s double thumpings of Russia at Euro 2008, he said he had no intention of opening up against the 2010 world champions at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium and felt that lining up with five at the back, in the absence of the suspended Igor Smolnikov, had paid off in blunting the Spanish attack.

“I think we chose the right tactics,” Cherchesov told reporters as Russia now contemplate a first World Cup quarter-final since 1970. “I think we should have countered faster. But if we had gone for a different tactic we would not have succeeded.”

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald ; @macdonaldrtr; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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