“Still, our opponents don’t have star players” – Kommersant FM

“Still, our opponents don’t have star players” – Kommersant FM

On the evening of November 20, the Russian national football team will play against the Cuban team. The next friendly match will take place in Volgograd. Now Kommersant FM sports commentator Vladimir Osipov is there, watching how Valery Karpin’s team is preparing for the upcoming game.

In Volgograd, the team was expected with bread and salt. Moreover, the football players were greeted by girls wearing tunics from the Great Patriotic War. Volgograd these days is celebrating the 81st anniversary of the decisive counteroffensive. Therefore, in honor of the events of 1942, the city had colorful fireworks, a laser show, and our football players came to Mamayev Kurgan and laid flowers at the eternal flame. The youngest player of the national team, Sergei Pinyaev, spoke about this very sincerely.

This visit of the national team did not go unnoticed by Volgograd residents. Players were constantly asked to take a photo together. The most popular were foreign players Alexander Golovin from Monaco and Daler Kuzyaev from Le Havre. The Cuban national team was also brought to see the main monuments of Volgograd, but almost no one paid attention to the Cubans, except perhaps journalists.

Still, our opponents don’t have star players. The naked eye could see how the Cuban friends froze during the excursion. They were not used to such a strong and cold wind. There was a lot of talk about the weather that day, including Russian players. Of course, because the wind blew away soccer balls during training. But national team midfielder Ivan Oblyakov still thought about beautiful football:

“The wind is, of course, decent, but I hope it will be better at the stadium. This should not affect the game. Of course, I want to win and show a beautiful game for the fans, for the whole country.”

Moreover, our players had to show their skills even before the match with Cuba. The fact is that about 500 young football players from Volgograd sports schools gathered for the training session of Karpin’s team, which took place on one of the reserve fields next to the main arena, and during the two-way game it was noisy in training. The national team players even thanked the stands afterwards. The head coach of our team, Valery Karpin, said that it was unusual to work in such conditions:

“It’s unusual to conduct a training session with such support from the stands. Apparently, there is great interest in football in Volgograd. I am very grateful to the audience. I hope the stadium will also be full during the match and the fans will support the players.”

As always, there were a lot of questions for Karpin, but the mentor did not open up with reporters before the important game, but rather laughed it off. When asked if he was ready to take the field himself, he answered that maybe he would only let his assistant Viktor Onopko out.

And regarding the sensational video that was released before the match, where Karpin enters a Cuban bar, stops the music and says that “we’ll sort it out in Volgograd,” Valery Georgievich claimed that he did not want to be filmed:

“As usual, they forced me. You could say they bent me over.”

The coach said this as a joke or it was impossible to understand it seriously. As a result, the journalists applauded Karpin. But we will find out how the Volgograd Arena will see off the team and coach on November 20. The match will start at 19:30. By the way, almost 40 thousand tickets have already been sold. So a full house is possible.

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