With less than a week to go until the first game, Russian media outlets are buzzing with excitement about the first World Cup in their country.
Television news regularly carries glowing reports about host cities, and the planning that has gone into hosting the tournament.
But the enthusiasm does not extend to the national team. They, it is fair to say, will not be burdened by expectation.
The general feeling among sport journalists is the team will be lucky to reach the knockout stages from a group also including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.
Ilya Andreyev of the Sport Express website had predicted a "heroic" performance from Russia that would see them through to the last 16.
However, he changed his mind after a 1-0 defeat by Austria and a limp 1-1 draw against Turkey in warm-up friendlies.
"One (one, damn it!) shot on target in two matches against not the most outstanding of opponents… simply a nightmare," he said.