Russian National Football team have found their harshest critic in the build up to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup held in the country and it is none other than the President himself, Vladimir Putin.

The Russian President stated on Thursday that the supporters of the Russian football team should expect better performances and results from them. Russia has only been victorious in the three of their last fifteen games. Putin was speaking on a broadcasted phone-in event couple of days before Russia opens the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which is a warm-up event in the year prior to the World Cup in the host country, against New Zealand on 17th June.

 “We will hope that the guys play with full commitment, like real warriors and athletes, to at least please the fans with their effort to win” Putin added.

Putin also said that he had spoken to ‘world-class’ specialists’ associated with the sport, who he did not name, about the potential of Russian team and he received mostly negative responses which revolved around poor youth coaching and influx of foreign nationals in the domestic league. He said the experts have told him that the result of increase in number of foreign players in the Russian League has hindered growth and development of local players.

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Russia this month fell to a record low 63rd in the FIFA world rankings. The country is gearing up to showcase four of its twelve 2018 FIFA World Cup venues during the Confederations Cup, a fortnight-long tournament featuring hosts Russia, defending World Champions Germany and the champions of from six FIFA confederations and continents viz. Oceania, Asia, South America, North America, Europe and Africa.