Russia winger Denis Cheryshev, who was on target in the inaugural game at 2018 World Cup Russia against Saudi Arabia, congratulated his old team mate Nacho Fernández, who found the net in spectacular style for Spain in last night's game against Portugal "I wanted Nacho to score and that's exactly what happened", Cheryshev said after this afternoon's training session at the Federal Sport Centre in Novogorsk.
Cheryshev and Nacho, childhood pals
Cheryshev has spent the past two seasons at Villarreal but he started out in Real Madrid's youth academy where he met and became good friends with Nacho - a friendship that is still going strong 16 years on. "I sent him a text message to congratulate him for his goal. We have known each other since we were 11 and I am so pleased for him for that great goal he scored. He replied and said he was happy for me for mine the other day", said Cheryshev, whose second strike in the opening game, like Nacho's, will surely be among the candidates for the best goal of the tournament.
Neither Cheryshev nor Nacho have discussed the possibility of Russia and Spain crossing paths at the Last 16 stage. "We simply wrote that, with any luck, it'll all go well for our respective teams and maybe we'll see each other later on in the tournament", said the Russia who added he "isn't the slightest bit upset" that Cristiano Ronaldo has overtaken him in the goals ranking.
Caution against Egypt danger
"Now we have to put the euphoria of our opening day win behind us and focus on our objective which is making it through to the next round, which Russia has not done in a very long time. We wanted to get off to a winning start and we managed to do that, but we have to forget about that game now and look forward. Our next game, against Egypt is going to be very difficult - they are a dangerous side. I think their defence is their strong point, but they can also quickly mount a counter-attack. That's what makes them so dangerous".