Russia striker Artem Dzyuba says his side are “madly happy” after a second straight impressive performance at the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday.
The host nation virtually assured themselves a place in the knockout stage after a comfortable 3-1 victory over Egypt in St. Petersburg.
Dzyuba was on the scoresheet in the game and played a role in the opener when his pressure helped cause an Ahmed Fathi own goal.
“The most important thing is we won. The whole country is happy I think, Russia is partying. We are unbelievably happy. Thank you to everyone for [their] support,” Dzyuba said after the match.
With six points from their opening two games, Russia will qualify for the knockout stage if Uruguay avoid defeat against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
From being viewed with a mixture of apathy and disdain by their fans, the Russian team find themselves being lauded.
“We are happy, madly happy,” said Dzyuba.
“We did our best, we got prepared, we worked hard all time and all that and the fact that the whole country supports us really helps. We see how many people are on the streets watching on the huge screens supporting us.”
He added: “Probably I am being too bold — but we want to win the cup.”
Russia surprised many in their opening victory over the Saudis, easing to a 5-0 result to kick off the tournament.
The comprehensive defeat of a Mohamed Salah-led Egypt, led by Dzyuba’s towering presence at centre-forward, was also unexpected, but Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said he knew Dzyuba could provide what his side needed on the day.
“We know Egypt’s weakness and tactically speaking he was more fitting for the purpose as a target man,” Cherchesov said.
Meanwhile, the aggressive Dzyuba expressed pride in his team’s performance against Egypt.
“I am always fired up, I always want more and more,” he said.
“I am happy to be here. Very proud. We deserved what happened because we did not concede a single centimetre to them.”