Russia players sniffed ammonia at World Cup, German media claims
Now, before you read on, we know - a story about Russian sportsman taking substances to improve their performance sounds a bit far-fetched...
But as strange as this may seem, that's the claim being levelled at some of their World Cup squad by a report in Germany.
According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung (via AS), some of Stanislav Cherchesov's team sniffed ammonia, which is a non-banned substance, during games at the World Cup.
A spokesperson for the Russian federation admitted to the Bavarian-based newspaper that one of their team's substitutes sniffed a cotton ball doused in ammonia before being brought on in the last-16 meeting with Spain. Russia went on to win the game via a penalty shootout.
Although not seen as a banned substance, ammonia is known to improve the flow of oxygen in the blood and stimulate breathing. The Süddeutsche Zeitung article said the Russian federation acted as if its use was as common as using shampoo in the shower.
Russia have been one of the surprises of the tournament so far. Having started their campaign with a convincing 5-0 win in the opener against Saudi Arabia, they made it to the quarter-finals, where Croatia needed a penalty shootout to finally knock them out.
Croatia's win over Russia has set up a semi-final meeting with England on Wednesday night in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. The winners of that will face either France of Belgium in the same stadium on Sunday to contest the World Cup final.