Russia put in the yards | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 25, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:41 AM, June 25, 2018

Russia put in the yards

The lowest-ranked team coming into their own World Cup, Russia have sparkled since the action began -- and perhaps the secret to their success is not just their ability on the ball but good old-fashioned industry.

No other team has matched the hosts' Stakhanovite workrate in their opening matches -- both of which Russia won by healthy margins -- nor even come close when it comes to putting in the hard yards.

According to FIFA's statistics, Russia, who play Uruguay in their final group game on Monday, have, by a startling margin, covered more ground than any other team, with their opening 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia seeing them run a collective 118 kilometres.

To put that into context, the second highest distance covered in the first round of matches was 112km by Egypt in their defeat to Uruguay.

In their second match, a 3-1 victory over Egypt, Russia took their total over two games to more than 233km, which, after Friday's action, was around 8km more than any other two-match team, with workmanlike Australia their nearest challengers.

This ferocious industry has been spearheaded by Aleksandr Golovin, who has not only stood out as a shining midfield talent, but also as the most hardworking player at the tournament, covering an impressive 25.15km.

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