Russia's heroes arrive in Sochi as they prepare for their first World Cup last-eight tie since 1970 against Croatia
- Russia are preparing to take on Croatia in the quarter-finals of the World Cup
- Russia haven't contested a World Cup quarter-final fixture since 1970
- The host nation have never reached the last-eight of a World Cup finals
By Tom Farmery For Mailonline
Published: 19:26 EDT, 5 July 2018 | Updated: 19:26 EDT, 5 July 2018
Russia's World Cup heroes have arrived in Sochi ahead of their quarter-final clash against Croatia.
The Russian players were led off the team plane as it arrived at its destination by head coach Stanislav Cherchesov.
Russia have enjoyed a remarkable tournament on home soil so far having been expected by some not to progress from Group A.
Russia's players have arrived in Sochi ahead of their World Cup quarter-final tie with Croatia
Defender Fyodor Kudryashov was one of the players who played in the win over Spain
Russia striker Fyodor Smolov has a picture taken with a supporter at their team hotel in Sochi
Head coach Stanislav Cherchesov leads the Russia players off the team plane on Thursday
Cherchesov leads his players away from the plane after they landed in south west Russia
The hosts came into the tournament as the lowest-ranked team but have defied the odds with some hugely impressive performances to reach the quarter-finals.
They held Spain to a 1-1 draw in the last-16 before beating them 4-3 on penalties.
Denis Cheryshev netted Russia's fourth consecutive penalty to heap the pressure on Iago Aspas, who consequently missed and consigned Spain to defeat. And Cheryshev revealed afterwards the flood of emotions which overcame him after the win.
'I cried a little bit. And I think I might cry again. But these were good tears,' he said in a video released by the Russian team on Monday, less than a day after beating Spain.
Russia striker Artyom Dzyuba (left) and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev (right) arrive at the airport
The Russia plane lands in Sochi on Thursday ahead of the team's quarter-final on Saturday
Russia midfielder Denis Cheryshev arrives at Sochi airport ahead of Thursday's team meeting
But attention must now turn to Sochi where Croatia stand in the way of Russia and a place in the semi-finals against England or Sweden.
Ironically, the objective set for Cherchesov ahead of this summer's tournament was to reach the last four.
Cheryshev hopes the nation are proud of his and his team-mates' performance.
'We worked a long time for this, I was striving for this a long time. We are really pleased. We really want to keep it like that,' he said.
'The whole country deserves it. I hope everyone is proud of us, is proud of our team. Now we have to go forward.'
Midfielder Alan Dzagoev is hoping to be fully recovered from the last-16 victory over Spain
Midfielder Yuri Zhirkov has played in every one of Russia's games at this summer's World Cup