Russia welcomes rival nations ahead of World Cup

Host nation Russia have come up with a warm way to welcome the 31 countries that will compete alongside them at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Members of Stanislav Chercheshov's extended squad paused their training commitments to pose for a photo in the playing shirt of their on-field rivals.

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Spartak Moscow defender Ilya Kutepov, capped six times by Russia, was the lucky player to don Caltex Socceroos colours.

Long-serving goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev issued a welcome to players, coaches and fans and his sentiments were echoed by experienced defender Sergei Ignashevich.

"I hope everyone likes Russia," said Ignashevich, who holds the all-time record for Sbornaya caps.

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"It's summer here, the weather is wonderful and the people are friendly. I'm sure you'll be happy.”

Akinfeev added: “We welcome all the teams who are coming here for the World Cup.

“I think they’ll quickly be convinced that Russia is 100% ready for their arrival. Our country has staged plenty of major sporting events and important matches already. I hope every player, coach and fan enjoys Russia and its hospitality.”

The Sbornaya turned up for training earlier than usual and upon arrival they were greeted by 32 jerseys from around the globe hanging in their locker room.

They duly obliged – putting them on, exchanging jokes and taking the obligatory selfies.

russia players