FIFA 2018 World Cup hosts Russia might not exactly be the tournament favorites, but they can definitely expect strong home support, and not only from the fans – the player’s wives will also attend matches to cheer on the team.
Support from the fans is often an inseparable aspect of sporting victories, broken records and unbelievable comebacks. It can also bring a major advantage from home teams over their rivals, with a huge army of devoted fans able to push their team forward.
Along with thousands of Russian football fans who will turn out to back the national team this summer, the World Cup hosts will have a personal cheerleading group in the stands comprised of their family members.
RT Sport takes a look at the wives of Russian players who will be encouraging their husbands to do the country proud at football’s biggest spectacle this summer.
Russia and Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Yuri Zhirkov met his future wife Inna at a friend's party in 2007, and proposed a year later, in 2008. That same year, Inna gave birth to their first child – Dmitry
Two years later they welcomed a baby girl to their family – Milana. In 2015, Inna became a mother of three after baby Daniil was born.
In 2012, Inna won the "Miss Russia" beauty contest, but later renounced her title after social media users doubted the fairness of her victory, insisting that the wife of the famous footballer had lobbied to win the event.
In May, Inna – who has embarked on a fashion designer career – presented her exclusive collection in Dubai.
Veronika Erokhina is the wife of Russia and Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Alexander Erokhin, who was included in the country's preliminary squad for the 2018 World Cup.
Veronika was a professional ballroom dancer, but quit her dancing career because of the constant trips and moves connected with her husband's job.
She often attends Erokhin's football matches, where she also brings their young son, Fedor.
The wife of Rubin Kazan defender Fedor Kydryashov, Anastasia is a regular visitor to football stadiums, as she always supports her husband, who is set to line up in Russia’s starting 11 at the World Cup.
An active social media user, Anastasia always shares vacation pictures taken in different corners of the world.
Spartak Moscow midfielder Denis Glushakov and his wife Darya got married in 2009.
Darya finished medical university with a professional degree in dentistry. The mother of two says she doesn't want to be financially dependent on her husband and dreams of starting her own business.
Denis Glushakov has been a regular for the national team in recent years, but suffered a setback after only being named on the reserve list for this summer’s tournament. He could still get a call-up, however – in which case his wife will be there to cheer him on.