History in the World Cup
The 2018 World Cup will be Russia’s 4th appearance, and the first time they are hosting the competition dubbed, 'The Pinnacle of Football’. Russia separated from the Soviet Union on December 21,1991 and they qualified for the first time in 1994, where they failed to get out of the group stage. After failing to qualify for the 1998 tournament, they marked a return to the prestigious tournament in 2002 but once again failed to make it out of the group stages, picking up a solitary win. From this point, things began to go downhill as Russia failed to qualify for the 2006 and 2010 finals but they recovered brilliantly to qualify for the 2014 edition in Brazil. However, their excitement was short lived as they failed to make it to the knockout stages for the third time in a row, finishing third in their group. Russia will certainly hope that playing in front of thousands of fans and in familiar territory will elevate them to qualify for the knockouts for the first time in their history.
Russia have played 13 competitive matches from the start of 2017 to present day. Their form since the start of 2017 has been worrying, having lost 6 matches and drawn one of their three wins during this period came against New Zealand in the Confederation Cup but their other two wins are more impressive, beating higher ranked Hungary in Budapest and Asian giants, South Korea in Moscow. There were also 2 high scoring draws, a 3-3 result vs Belgium in March 2017 and an identical scoreline against Spain in November of the same year. Russia have scored 19 goals and conceded 22, and have regularly been beaten comprehensively by the big boys. If Russia want a run in front of their home fans, they would be looking to iron out their defensive issues. With two key friendlies versus Austria and Turkey coming up before the World Cup, Russia would be keen to display a promising performance to build some momentum going into the tournament.
Manager: Stanislav Cherchesov
Goalkeepers: Akinfeev, Lunev, Gabulov
Defenders: Kudryashov, Kutepov, Granat, Neustädter, Smolnikov, Zhirkov, Schennikov, D. Kombarov, Mario Fernandes
Midfielders: Golovin, Dzagoev, Kuzyaev, Zobnin, Glushakov, Al. Miranchuk, Yerokhin, Samedov
Forwards: Smolov, Dzyuba, Poloz
Krasnodar striker Fyodor Smolov will be a player to watch out for. The 6 foot 1 striker hasbeen very consistent and has scored 91 goals totally for club and country. He has bundled in 52 goals in 72 games with Krasnodar and is currently at his peak. He was the top scorer in Russia for the past two seasons and is currently second on the list in this season.He is very good in the air and causes problems to almost all defenders.
FIFA : Current- 66
ELO : Current- 45
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