The Kremlin on Wednesday said Vladimir Putin did not watch Russia’s surprise win over Egypt in the World Cup because he was on a plane but added that he reacted “very positively, like the whole of our country”. “Unfortunately, he did not watch the match itself. It so happened that at this time he was on a plane from Minsk to Moscow,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
“But as soon as he came down, the results of the match were immediately reported to him,” he added. Russia defied critics and confounded expectation by easing past Egypt 3-1 on Tuesday, all but assuring their place in the last 16 of a World Cup for the first time since the Soviet era. “This is a very precious victory for all of us, very joyful. Of course the president was also happy,” Peskov said.
The Russians have now scored eight times in just two matches, raising the spirits of home fans after a long spell of under-achievement. Russia still have one more group match left, against two-time World Cup champions Uruguay in Samara on Monday. Yet they have all but guaranteed their passage out of Group A and are set to join the knockout stage for the first time since 1986.