Riding on a wave of patriotic optimism, almost one in five Russians expect their national football team to lift the trophy in this year's World Cup tournament, a poll has shown.
In total, 18 percent of respondents in a survey by the state-run pollster VTsIOM said Russia would win the 2014 World Cup, which is currently taking place in Brazil.
No other team induces such faith among Russians — even Brazil, the five-time winner of the tournament, came in second place, with only 16 percent of those polled forecasting its victory.
In joint-third were Spain and Germany, with only four percent backing them for victory despite being the first and second-ranked teams in the world, respectively, according to international football's governing body, FIFA.
Fifty-two percent of those polled said they were undecided on the prospective winner.
Only 41 percent said they would watch the tournament, while 54 percent admitted to having no interest in the event. Two percent gave no answer at all, and percent said they were unaware a World Cup was even taking place.
The poll, conducted days before the World Cup kicked off last week, surveyed 1,600 respondents in 42 different regions and had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.
Russia, currently ranked 18th in the FIFA ratings, is featuring in its first World Cup for 12 years, having only qualified for the tournament three times in the national team's 22-year history.
The team played its first game on Tuesday, drawing 1:1 against South Korea, who are ranked 57th in the world.
The Soviet team, the Russian team's predecessor, achieved its best result in 1966, when it finished the tournament in fourth place.
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