Russia’s impressive run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup may not have all been the result of grit, determination and good old-fashioned team work.
According to reports coming out of Germany, the national team may have, in fact, taken performance-enhancing substances to spur them on to the quarter-finals.
Or at least that’s what a report from German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung claims.
They reckon Russian players sniffed ammonia to improve their performance at the finals.
The report points to a spokesperson for the Russian Federation, who told the Bavarian news source that the Russia substitutes sniffed cotton balls doused in the chemical before entering the game against Spain.
They were also spotted doing the same thing against Croatia, with several players spotted rubbing their noses during the quarter-final clash.
It can’t have been that effective though – Russia ended up losing on penalties to their heavily-fancied European neighbours.
In any case, Ammonia is not classed as an illegal substance according to international anti-doping regulations.
It does have a reputation for aiding athletic performance through the stimulation of breathing, improving the oxygen flow in the blood as a result.
“The Russian Federation acted as if it were something as common as using shampoo in the shower,” the Süddeutsche Zeitung states.
It’s not the first time Russia has faced these accusations, with Bild launching similar claims.
And there’s definitely nothing in the fact that Germany got dumped out of the World Cup much earlier than their Eastern rivals. Definitely not.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.