Andrey Arshavin admits he was "in shock" after Russia's surprising exit from the World Cup.
The Arsenal star is captain of his country and looked to be heading to next summer's Finals in South Africa when Russia took a 2-0 lead in the first-leg of their play-off against Slovenia last month.
But the underdogs grabbed a late goal in Moscow and then a 1-0 win in the return leg in Slovenia to take them through on the away-goals rule. Russia's elimination was overshadowed by the controversy in the Ireland-France play-off but that didn’t lessen the impact for Arshavin.
“It is still difficult for me to say anything [about the World Cup] - I was in shock," he told the Official Matchday Programme.
"But to be honest, Slovenia deserved the win. We have to stay positive, but that’s easy to say and difficult to do.
"I don’t know why it happened. It would have been easier if we hadn’t conceded late on in Russia, but it’s too late to talk about it really.
“Everyone in Russia believed we would qualify but there we are, it didn’t happen."
This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source