The beautiful game: How Russia’s beach soccer women restored national pride (PHOTOS)

A day after Croatia sent Russia crashing out of its own World Cup, a team of Russian women restored the country’s sporting pride by claiming first prize at the European Beach Soccer Cup!

While all eyes were on Russia’s men, Lady Luck was smiling on her fellow women. Team Russia’s victories at the World Cup proved that Russia is a soccer country, but the women showed that it’s also a beach soccer superpower, which might come as an ever greater surprise.

On the very next day after tiny Croatia halted the Russian juggernaut on its path to World Cup glory, the Russian female beach soccer team claimed the Women’s Euro Beach Soccer Cup title in Portugal’s Nazaré.

After beating Spain 2-0, the girls became the third winning team of this now annual tournament after Spain (2016) and England (2017) — and that despite only getting together on June 25, just two weeks before becoming champions!

The team also picked up two individual awards: Marina Fedorova won the Best Player trophy, while Anastasia Gorshkova secured the coveted Golden Boot with five successful strikes.

 “We knew we had a good chance of winning, but expected a tough ride, especially with the Spanish in the final,” says team member Anastasia Osinovskaya. “I was feeling calm and confident from the start. I somehow knew we’d pull through. Even though it was our first time together as a team, we’d still known each other for a while. We acted as one organism, however banal it might sound, but it’s true.” 

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In between training sessions, the girls are even more gorgeous. Who wouldn’t want to “lose” to them?

Want to learn more about the state of women’s football in Russia? Despite professional women’s football in Russia having existed for more than 30 years, it still lags way behind the status it enjoys in Germany, the U.S. and England. Read more here.

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