Putin interrupts press conference to congratulate Russia

Russian president Vladimir Putin wasted no time in sending his congratulations to the host team after their 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia.

It was a perfect start for Russia to the 2018 World Cup on Thursday after they thrashed a poor Saudi Arabian side for a first win since October.

Russia manager Stanislav Cherchesov was conducting his post-match press conference, when he was interrupted by a phone call from Putin.

“He asked me to share his thanks with the team for the performance that they put on and he asked me to keep playing like this,” Cherchesov said.

“We went for a walk before the game and we talked about how this tournament is just the beginning. Okay, we won 5-0 and we got three points but it could have been a draw and only a point – we would still have to get out of the group.

“We won our first game at (last summer’s) Confederations Cup and it didn’t take us too far. So we’re on the right track but we should turn the page and forget this game.”

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