World Cup has broken stereotypes about Russian Federation, says Vladimir Putin

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After studying Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during which he announced a surprise halt to United States military exercises with South Korea, Putin decided he needs to negotiate with the billionaire personally, the senior official said, without elaborating. He referred to Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying: "And I said, 'You know, Angela, I can't guarantee it, but we're protecting you and it means a lot more to you than protecting us 'cause I don't know how much protection we get by protecting you".

He added: "They were dying on the pitch, we are proud with them".

Putin watched on television as the hosts stunned 2010 World Cup winners Spain on penalties at the weekend to secure Russia's place in the quarter-finals for the first time since the Soviet era.

He world cup may not resolve Russia's economic concerns but it has certainly gave it a positive image, something that the "undemocratic" Putin administration will make full use of in its future global dealings.

After entering the tournament as the lowest-ranked side, Russian Federation made it through to the knockout stage for the first time in post-Soviet history before upsetting Spain to make it to the quarter-finals.

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There was no sign of hooliganism and racism as many had apprehended in the run-up to the tournament and also Putin made full use of the platform to make some eye-catching engagements with world leaders and one wouldn't be surprised if the West felt jealous about it.

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov led his team onto a stage to a heroes' welcome in a Moscow fan zone on a sunny day that was meant to put a patriotic exclamation point on Russia's ability to beat the odds.

He also responded to a question on whether the team enjoyed the trust of the country.

Russia may have supplanted America as the indispensable arbiter in various Mideast conflicts but there's only so far Putin is willing to go to appease Trump when it comes to Iran, according to Andrei Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, a research group set up by the Kremlin.

He wrote on Twitter: "It's unfortunate, but nonetheless it was a great game".

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"And this is a national team that the country is proud of". France will play Belgium on July 10 in St. Petersburg in the other seminal match. Thank you, guys, for the fact that millions of people simultaneously chanted: "Russian Federation!"

"It was a great match".

"It would have been better if we could have stayed (in the World Cup) to July 15".

This time, it was the Croatian fans' turn to celebrate. "When they are asked for some information, they are very friendly".

AFP reported that tens of thousands of Croats poured onto the streets after the victory, singing and waving flares and Croatian flags.

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"You saw who took the penalties".