Russia have badly under-performed since reaching the EURO 2018 semifinals and with a squad lacking in quality and experience plus poor recent results,. there is a real danger of an embarrassing early exit as World Cup hosts..
RUSSIA FIFA Ranking : 66
Coach : Stanislav Cherchesov
Key Players : Fyodor Smolov, Igor Akinfeev
Fyodor Smolov, the charismatic striker was written off early in his career after a disappointing spell at Feyenoord. And a long goal drought with FC Anzhi Makhachkala but has roared back with Krasnodar to finish as second top scorer in the Russian Premier League.
Igor Akinfeev, a one-club manwith CSKA Moscow. The goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets than anyone else in the history of Russia’s top flight. The keeper has more than 100 caps since making his debut in 2004 although he has made costly errors, such as conceding soft goals against South Korea and Algeria in the last World Cup which led to Russia’s early elimination.
Stanislav Cherchesov, the former goalkeeper, who won four Russian league titles with Spartak Moscow and three league championships in Austria with FC Tirol Innsbruck, has prioritised the team’s defence. Assembling a new-look back three protected by five mid-fielders. He also has a reputation for making bold decisions..
Previous Tournaments :
Russia have played in three World Cups since 1994, failing to get out of the group stage everytime. The Soviet Union played in seven World Cups, their best performance coming in 1966 when they reached the semifinals and losing 2-1 to West Germany. They made the quarterfinals in 1958, 1962 and 1970, losing to Sweden, Chile and Uruguay resp,.
There is a serious danger Russia could join South Africa from 2010 in being the only World Cup tournament hosts to fail to get out of their group. Cherchesov’s squad are young, inexperienced and mostly play in Russia’s top flight, meaning the majority of their players have barely tested themselves against international opponents..
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