Wednesday 05 September 2018, 15:39

Cheryshev sparks Russian dreams

Goals make games, and many times, they make them memorable. In the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ quarter-finals, Russia midfielder Denis Cheryshev helped to bring life to a tense last-eight contest against Croatia with something truly special.

On a hot and humid summer’s evening at Fisht Stadium in Sochi, the 27-year-old injected real belief into the home fans that the hosts could continue their fairy-tale journey at football’s showpiece event by scoring one of the goals of the tournament.

Deadlocked through the opening half-hour of play, Cheryshev started the move in the Croatia half that led to his fourth goal of Russia 2018 and raised the passions of onlookers to its peak.

After playing a simple give-and-go with team-mate Artem Dzyuba, Cheryshev eluded the challenge of Croatia captain Luka Modric to control the return pass with his right foot.

Having then played the ball across his body near the Croatia box, the midfielder used the inside of his left foot to unleash a strike that flew past the sliding challenge of Domagoj Vida and a frozen Danijel Subasic in the Croatia goal before finding the top left-hand corner of the net.

Cheryshev’s opener not only had Russia fans in delirium, it set the wheels in motion for an epic encounter between these two European rivals on 7 July, with the match needing extra time and a penalty shoot-out to decide who would reach the semi-finals.

Though the Sbornaya would see their World Cup dreams end from 12 yards to the eventual tournament runners-up, the midfielder’s goal lives on as an iconic moment of Russia 2018.

What they said

"To score in a World Cup quarter-final is something amazing - all the kids who start playing football dream about it, and I admit I still haven't realised what it means for me. It's like a fairy-tale." Denis Cheryshev

“The finish is nothing short of genius. Look at the angle, he just gets his foot round it and the goalkeeper has absolutely no chance. That there is one of the goals of the tournament.” Ally McCoist, pundit and former Scotland international