The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Russia is not known as a soccer powerhouse. But it does have a devoted fan base, is set to host the 2018 World Cup, and has the highest-paid coach at this summer’s World Cup. Russia’s squat has been ranked #18 in the games by FIFA and is not predicted to win the world’s most popular sporting event. In fact, some experts believe that the Russian national team, which has only qualified for two World Cup games in the past, will be hard pressed to make it out of its group round, where they face off against Belgium, South Korea and Algeria.
But, all that aside, back in 1994, at Russia’s first World Cup games, a member of the Russian team made history.
Oleg Salenko, a striker, set the World Cup record for most goals scored in one game by a single player in his team’s match against Cameroon. Salenko had five goals in that match, lifting Russia to a 6-1 win over the African nation. Here is a video of his amazing feat:
Salenko was consequently awarded the Golden Boot, an award given to the player with the most goals in a FIFA World Cup, for his six goals during the Cup (Salenko scored his sixth goal in a match against Sweden).
Salenko’s achievement is all the more impressive given the fact that Russia was eliminated in the group stage of the 1994 World Cup after losing to Brazil and Sweden. The Russian footballer is the only player in the history of the games to win the Golden Boot while playing on a team that lost in the first round of the tournament.
But that was 20 years ago. Of course Oleg Salenko no longer plays for the Russian team. And while the chances of a Russian victory in Brazil seem slim (After a 1-1 tie with South Korea in their first match of the 2014 games, the Russian team is by no means out of the competition.), super-compensated Head Coach Fabio Capello is optimistic about the team’s chances:
“… I believe in my team and their capability of winning a place in the World Cup knockouts. Russia has a good team.”