Current Fifa Ranking : 22nd with 870 points
World Cup Appearances : 1994 and 2002
Best Achievement : First Round
Head Coach : Fabio Capello
Captain : Roman Shirokov
Having only conceded five goals in ten games, Russia managed to top their qualifying group by one point. Defensively astute and efficient, this Russian side is predominantly domestic-based, with only Sevilla’s Cheryshev plying his trade on foreign soil. Head coach Fabio Capello is a manager of immeasurable experience, with the improvement around the Russia camp evident since his reign.
They have been drawn into one of the tournament’s ‘lenient’ groups, if one could call it that. Belgium will be the side to beat during this phase, whilst Algeria and South Korea also proving to be stiff opposition. Whilst Capello was derided in England for attempting to instil discipline, he was applauded for it in Russia, and is already in talks for a contract extension. The sense of security and mental fortitude brought in by him has turned Russia into one of the nations to keep an eye out this summer.
CSKA Moscow’s Akinfeev is still the team’s number one, aided by defensive team-mates Nababkin and Ignasevich in front of him. Zenit St Petersburg’s Roman Shirokov has recently been given the captain’s armband by the coach, and has proven to be a decent leader during qualifiers. Him and CSKA Moscow’s Alan Dzagoev are some of the certainties in midfield. In attack, the squad will rely on the same tenacity which Zenit St Petersburg’s Aleksandr Kerzakhov has shown so far.
It will be extremely crucial for the Russians to keep their first eleven fully fit should they hope to excel throughout this group stage, though pundits and bookmakers alike are still puzzled as to what the most possible prediction of this group might be. Numbers and odds aside, this shall certainly be an interesting group brimmed with different potential outcomes.