Russian footballers love the number eight. All of our recent successes have come in years ending with this number: the USSR reached the final of Euro 88, Russia came third in Euro 2008 and have now reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2018.
Russia’s key players need to try their luck in Europe’s top leagues, and they need to go to leagues which suit their particular skillsets. For example, Artem Dzyuba would probably be at home in England, while Mario Fernandes and Roman Zobnin would have more joy in La Liga or Serie A.
The Russian national team has everything it needs to become a great team over the next four years and repeat (or improve on) this result at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. However, to make this happen, the players need to work even harder and take their chances in Europe’s top leagues.
And if the FA does its job properly, then in a decade or so, quarter-final finishes will cease to be surprising.