We at Daily Vedas continue to look at the teams participating in the FIFA World Cup 2014. We preview Russia, currently ranked 18th in the FIFA standings and their expectations in this World Cup.
The Russian charge for the World Cup has always been a bit of a let-down, they did not qualify for both the World Cups in 2006 and 2010. This would only be their third appearance in a World Cup, after 1994 and 2002. What would be going for them is that they do have a manager who is known for his grit and determination amongst other things and had been in charge of the English national team, and helped them qualify for a World Cup and European championship.
The World Cup is still a few weeks away and we can’t really confirm on the team until a formal announcement is made, however we sure can predict the team which could be going to the World Cup, here is a probable list of players who would be heading to the World Cup in Brazil.
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev, Yuri Lodygin, Sergey Ruzhikov
Defenders: Sergei Ignashevich, Vasili Berezutski, Dmitri Kombarov, Andrey Yeshchenko, Aleksei Kozlov, Vladimir Granat, Georgi Schennikov, Yevgeni Makeyev, Maksim Belyayev
Midfielders: : Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Shirikov, Igor Denisov, Alan Dzagoev, Denis Glushakov, Viktor Fayzulin, Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Ryazantsev, Oleg Shatov, Aleksei Ionov
Forwards: Aleksandr Kokorin, Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Fyodor Smolov
There really isn’t a lot of players who would get a look in at this squad. All the players in the squad play their football in Russia, so playing in the sunny climate of Brazil may be a bit of a different feeling to the players when compared to the cold, chilly playing conditions in Russia.
Fabio Capello led Russia to the top of their qualification table, winning the group ahead of the much fancied Portuguese side. As expected from an Italian manager, the team only conceded 5 goals in the 10 qualifying games, Capello had an illustrious career as a player, winning the Serie A title with Juventus thrice and once more with Milan, apart from a couple of Coppa Italia titles with Milan and AS Roma. Capello has managed the English national team and also led teams like Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid and Roman to various league titles and Champions League titles, of course the titles he won at Juventus were stripped off for the match fixing scandal that rocked Italian football. He replaced Dick Advocaat as the manager of Russia and will be looking to lead the Russians out of the group and into the knockout round for the first time in a World Cup.
- Alan Dzagoev: The 23 year old has already been touted as the big hope for Russian football since Arshavin. Dzagoev plays as an attacking midfielder for CSKA Moscow and already has 34 goals for his club. He finished as the joint top scorer in EURO 2012 and would be looking to carry on his goal scoring prowess in the World Cup.
- Aleksandr Kokorin: The future of Russian football, Kokorin plays as a forward for Dynamo Moscow, who inserted a buy-out clause in his contract, rumored to be at 19 Million Euros. He is known for his strength and finishing and would be one of the young players to look out for at the World Cup.
- Igor Denisov: The captain for the Russian team, Denisov plays in the midfield as an enforcer. Denisov has won it all in Russia, the Russian Premier League, the Russian Cup and Supercup. He has also won the UEFA cup with Zenit. He is known to be a bit of a controversial figure, including a standoff with his club Zenit, he would be looking to avoid all that and lead his Russian side into the knockout round.
The formation to go with for most teams seems to be the 4-2-3-1 and it is the same with the Russian team. Capello plays with 2 holding midfielders, Denisov and Shirkov, with 3 attacking midfielders ahead. Dzagoev leads the charge, playing in the central attacking midfielder role and the line is led ably by Aleksandr Kherzakov.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The Russia side has a few really good players coming through and they have a really good coach at the helm. Capello does believe in shutting out opponents and would be looking to do the same, the biggest issue would be that all his top players play in the cold, freezing Russian league and Brazil might feel like an oven for some of the players, it could be worse in Qatar but let’s not think that far.
Topping their qualification group certainly would have given the team confidence, especially since they qualified ahead of Portugal. The Russians have been placed in group H with Belgium, Algeria and South Korea. Based on rankings, the Russians and South Korea would fight it out for the second spot in the group and it could go the Russian’s way. They could reach the knockout round but that is probably as far as they would progress, unless they have a magnificent run like they did in EURO 2012.