August 11, 2016

MOSCOW (AP) Stanislav Cherchesov is the new coach of Russia ahead of its home World Cup in 2018, after a disastrous performance in the European Championship ended predecessor Leonid Slutsky's tenure.

The Russian Football Union announced the appointment Thursday. Board member Igor Lebedev told the state Tass news agency that Cherchesov was under contract until August 2018 and had been given a target of reaching the World Cup semifinals.

Cherchesov said he wasn't overawed by the demands of a home World Cup, or rectifying the failures of the European campaign.

''Hand on heart, I'm not worried,'' he said in comments reported by R-Sport. ''It's obvious the result wasn't the one we wanted and it needs to be sorted out. One person on his own can't do that; it has to be done by everyone. Though one person can mess it all up.''

A former Soviet Union and Russia goalkeeper, Cherchesov coached Legia Warsaw to the Polish league and cup double last season, but has not won a trophy in Russia despite coaching there for most of the last decade.

Slutsky resigned in June when Russia went out of Euro 2016 following a draw with England and defeats to Wales and Slovakia. Since then, the team has been depleted after midfielder Roman Shirokov retired, while defensive stalwart Sergei Ignashevich has signaled he wants to retire from international football to make way for younger players.

Cherchesov said Thursday he wanted to make the team more open and accountable. That follows a series of scandals in Russian media over players' behavior before and after the exit from Euro 2016. Forward Alexander Kokorin and midfielder Pavel Mamaev faced public anger and were briefly dropped to the reserves by their clubs as punishment after video emerged of them partying with dozens of bottles of champagne at an exclusive nightclub as the Russian anthem played.

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