4 Days To Go - World Cup 2018
Russia are hosting their first World Cup this summer, but did you know that their best ever finish in the tournament came in 1966 when they finished in the number four spot. Back in the day they were called the Soviet Union and didn't just have players from what we know as modern day Russia but also from countries such as the Ukraine and Georgia.
Led by coach Nikolai Morozov the Soviet Union were drafted into a group containing North Korea, Italy and Chile and went on to win every group match.
• Soviet Union 3 - 0 North Korea • Soviet Union 1 - 0 Italy
• Soviet Union 2 - 1 Chile
• Soviet Union 2 - 1 Hungary
• West Germany 2 - 1 Soviet Union
Third Place Playoff
• Portugal 2 - 1 Soviet Union
Perhaps their most famous player was Moscow-born goalkeeper Lev Yashin. Not only a solid shot stopper he was known for his tenacious approach to goalkeeping, which would see him rush out of his goal to discombobulate oncoming attackers. He remains one of Russia's most famous sons and helped guide his country to their best position ever at the 1966 World Cup.
Building on their excellent record in the group games they went on to defeat Hungary in the quarter finals only to come unstuck against a strong West Germany side in the semis who went on to the final against England.
Unfortunately for the Soviets they came up against Eusebio's Portugal in the third place playoff and went on to the lose the match 2-1.
It's unlikely that the Russians will be able to do one better this year, or even match the performances of their 1966 Soviet team, but they'll have plenty of home support behind them and could cause a few upsets!