Turkey held the hosts of the 2018 FIFA Football World Cup, Russia, to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday. Although this does not change the fact that Turkey did not qualify for this edition of the tournament, Russia may be concerned that their last victory came back in October 2017, after which time this is the first time they have avoided defeat by drawing out a match. Beginning later this month, the World Cup will be watched by billions around the planet.
Alexander Samedov scored for Russia in the 36th minute, setting up what appeared to be a much needed win to boost morale and create positive momentum moving into the World Cup. However, these dreams were shattered when Turkish substitute Yunus Malli scored the equalizer, changing the nature of the game, and threatening to go ahead in the 79th minute when he made another effort at goal, which almost found the back of the net. At the final whistle, the Russian side was relieved that this friendly had resulted in a draw, and not a defeat.
All eyes have been on coach Stanislav Cherchesov to see how he will get this team to deliver, if nothing else, a solid performance in the World Cup, both as hosts and as a team to be reckoned with. Judging by recent results, there is a lot of pressure that he will have to process and overcome in order to do this. Russia, currently ranked 66th in FIFA rankings, will face Saudi Arabia in their opening game, scheduled to take place on the 14th of June.