The qualification path and the group
As in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016, Russia is still there. Quarter-finalist of the last World Cup on its territory, Sbornaya remains on a successful tournament and aims to do as in 2008 (semi-finalist) that is to say to exit the group stage and then try to go as far as possible. In qualifying, Russia logically held onto its rank by finishing 2nd behind Belgium, but winning all its matches against Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino. And despite recent rather disappointing results, Russia will still have ambitions. If Belgium – already encountered in the qualifiers (defeats 3-1 and 4-1) – will be difficult to maneuver, Stanislav Cherchesov’s men will have an opponent of their stature, Denmark, and Finland who is the smallest of this group.
The eleven type:
The qualities and weaknesses
Clearly, the time has come for concern on the Russian side. Despite certain talents in the workforce, all collective certainties have collapsed in recent months with catastrophic performances (Moldova 0-0, Turkey 2-3, Serbia 0-5 and Slovakia 1-2). However, on a good dynamic after the 2018 World Cup, Russia will have to quickly turn its head to the place. Small reason to hope for a quick change, Stanislav Cherchesov had been able to rectify the situation very quickly on the sidelines of the world. In goals, no one has yet replaced Igor Akinfeev. For two years, the goalkeeper of Lokomotiv Guilherme tried before disappearing and it is Anton Shunin who should hold the post. Defense is also a concern. If Mario Fernandes the right side and Georgiy Dzhikiya in the axis of the defense reassure and act as boss, they will be supported by Andrey Semenov and Yuri Zhirkov (or Fedor Kudryashov). The first is not at the level while youngsters Igor Diveev and Roman Evgenjev seem to arrive a little late in the selection. For the position of left side it is a real concern and the right side Vyacheslav Karavaev can also help out.
In the middle and in attack, Russia has an interesting material, but it will be necessary to find the right chemistry. The Aleksandr Golovin – Artem Dzyuba tandem is very effective, but the concern is that it is quite predictable. Good news, Denis Cheryshev who has suffered injuries for three years can bring another register in the offensive animation. Another question, what about Aleksey Miranchuk, certain talent, but who has still not won in the selection and who is coming out of a complicated season at Atalanta. He could evolve to the right to bring more to creation, but the very conservative Stanislav Cherchesov could continue to maintain his confidence in Aleksey Ionov. Finally, to end on a note of optimism, the future of Russia is still promising with several young people emerging like Maksim Mukhin (Lokomotiv), Daniil Fomin (Dynamo), Denis Makarov (Rubin) and Andrey. Mostovoy (Zenit). But the one who commands attention is Arsen Zakharyan. The 17-year-old Dinamo Moscow midfielder is the sensation of the end of the season in Russia. Triply outclassed at the Euro Espoirs in March, he should take part in that of the greats. If he plays in the preparation or the first match of the Euro against Belgium, he will be the youngest player to wear the jersey of the selection exceeding legend Igor Akinfeev. Russia will also have the advantage of playing two home group stage matches in St. Petersburg.
The coach: Stanislav Cherchesov
The man with the well-groomed mustache does not lack experience. At 57, the former coach of Spartak Moscow, Terek Grozny, Amkar Perm, Dinamo Moscow and Legia Warsaw has traveled a lot. On the bench of Russia since August 11, 2016 and the Euro fiasco, Stanislav Cherchesov has restored order. If his record of 23 wins, 10 draws and 19 losses and far from brilliant, he will nevertheless have gained credit by taking Russia to the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup. Fairly rigid on his choices, he however had to hard to let emerge the young Russians who knock on the door of the selection and is distinguished by a true conservatism.
The player to watch: Aleksandr Golovin
Well known in France, Aleksandr Golovin is one of the nice surprises of the 2018 World Cup. Following his performances in the national team and with CSKA Moscow, he joined AS Monaco where he still plays. Celebrating his 25th birthday on May 30, the native of Kaltan must prove that he can still wear his selection as he did three years ago. Often injured this season, he has only played 22 matches for 4 goals and 8 assists, but is slowly returning to form at the end of the season. What is reassuring is that Aleksandr Golovin is often very good in the selection as evidenced by his 5 goals and 11 assists in 36 caps. La Sbornaya will clearly need his master to play especially as the other great Russian talent Aleksey Miranchuk is coming out of a complicated season at Atalanta and may well not start.
The list of 29:
Goalkeepers: Yuri Dupin (Rubin), Andrey Lunev (Zenit), Matvey Safonov (Krasnodar), Anton Shunin (Dynamo)
Defenders: Georgiy Dzhikiya (Spartak), Igor Diveev (CSKA), Mario Fernandes (CSKA), Roman Evgenjev (Dynamo), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Zenit), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor), Ilya Samoshnikov (Rubin), Andrey Semenov (Akhmat)
Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv), Maxim Mukhin (Lokomotiv), Alexander Golovin (Monaco), Arsen Zakharyan (Dynamo), Daniil Fomin (Dynamo), Roman Zobnin (Spartak), Alekalersey Ionov (Krasnuzar), (Zenit), Andrey Mostovoy (Zenit), Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit), Denis Makarov (Rubin), Aleksey Miranchuk (Atalanta), Denis Cheryshev (Valencia)
Attackers: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit), Anton Zabolotny (Sochi), Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak)
Reservists: Aleksandr Maksimenko (Spartak), Igor Smolnikov (Krasnodar), Dmitry Chistyakov (Zenit), Yuri Gazinsky (Krasnodar), Daniil Lesovoy (Dynamo), Resiuan Mirzov (FK Khimki), Fedor Smolov (Lokomotiv)
⚡ Расширенный состав сборной России для подготовки к ЕВРО-2020.
Эти игроки отправятся на учебно-тренировочные сборы, после которых тренерский штаб огласиутинконк отирых pic.twitter.com/nzAACNalAN
– Сборная России (@TeamRussia) May 11, 2021