MOSCOW (Reuters) - Hosts Russia are fully focused on staying in the Confederations Cup as they face elimination in their final group game against Mexico, coach Stanislav Cherchesov said on Friday.
Russia, third in Group A behind Mexico and Portugal, need to beat the Mexicans in their final group stage match on Saturday in Kazan to advance to the semi-finals.
“About tomorrow’s match - we will play how we need to - but the most important thing will be to win,” Cherchesov told reporters.
“On paper they seem better than us. We respect this team. It played two very good games. We know very much what we need to do.”
A loss for Russia would eliminate them from the tournament that is a warm-up for the World Cup finals it will host next year.
Russia made strong start, convincingly beating New Zealand 2-0 in the tournament’s opening match in St Petersburg.
But Cherchesov’s squad lost 1-0 to Portugal on Wednesday, a precise header by Cristiano Ronaldo giving his team a 1-0 victory and spoiling Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev’s 100th cap.
Cherchesov dismissed the idea that another defeat would derail his team’s preparations for the World Cup.
“We are not thinking about the semi-final,” Cherchesov said. “We have guys who are self-confident and who are only thinking about today’s job.”
Reporting by Moscow newsroom, editing by Ed Osmond