2017 Confederations Cup profile: Russia

Learn about the hosts in our 2017 Confederations Cup profile on Russia

FootyOn experts come to the final 2017 Confederations Cup profile on tournament hosts Russia.

The tournament hosts have a turbulent history both on and off the field and are 9/1 with Sky Bet to win the Confed Cup.

Russian Premier League teams, which are where all but one of their preliminary Confederations Cup squad play club football for, are hostile environments for other European sides to go to into continental competitions.

Just 10 of the Euro 2016 roster are named for this tournament, headed by goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev who will rack up his century during it.

High-profile injuries mean creative, attacking talents like Alan Dzagoev and Artem Dzyuba miss out.

This is only the dress rehearsal for next summer’s World Cup, however.

A discarding of the old guard in defence, meanwhile, means the Bereuztski brothers and most-capped player Sergei Ignashevich aren’t there to provide familiar foundations at the back.

Yuri Zhirkov, a double winner with Chelsea under Carlo Ancelotti, is Russia’s most experienced outfield player at this level.

Former Chelsea left-sided player Yuri Zhirkov is one of the Russia players you will recognise in their 2017 Confederations Cup profile.

Former Chelsea left-sided player Yuri Zhirkov is one of the Russia players you will recognise in their 2017 Confederations Cup profile.

Only Akinfeev and midfielder Denis Glushakov join him on 50 caps or more.

Just six of the Russian squad named are over 30, including recalled and rejuvenated striker Aleksandr Bukharov.

Ukraine-born former Germany international Roman Neustadter, who plays for Fenerbahce, is the only overseas player.

Such an insular roster without wider experience of European football – let alone the global game – may mean home advantage doesn’t count for much at the Confed Cup.

Confederations Cup record

Russia are first-time Confederations Cup qualifiers, so there are no previous performances in the competition to note.

They have reached the last four European Championship finals, however, with their best run being to the semis of Euro 2008.

When competing at the USSR, they won Euro 1960 and were runners-up on three other occasion before the Iron Curtain fell.

How they qualified: Tournament hosts and hosts of 2018 World Cup

To ensure they get a prep run for next year’s 2018 World Cup that they are also hosting, Russia also stage this tournament.

The Confed Cup is the latest of several major sporting events in the country, which include the 2013 IAAF World Athletics Championships and 2014 Winter Olympics.

Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov

Stanislav Cherchesov is the Russia head coach, as our 2017 Confederations Cup profile explains.

Stanislav Cherchesov is the Russia head coach, as our 2017 Confederations Cup profile explains.

Former goalkeeper Cherchesov played for all of the USSR, CIS and Russia as we know it today, earning a combined 49 caps.

His international career saw him play at the 1994 World Cup in the USA and Euro 96, where he battled with Chelsea cult hero Dmitri Kharine for a starting spot.

After guiding Legia Warsaw to a domestic double in Poland, his country came calling as Cherchesov replaced Leonid Slutsky in August 2016.

Earlier in his coaching career, he managed the likes of Spartak Moscow (2007-08), Terek Grozny (2011-13), Amkar Perm (2013-14) and Dynamo Moscow (2014-15).

Key player: Fyodor Smolov

With Dzagoev and Dzyuba out injured and fellow striker Aleksandr Kokorin not selected, Krasnodar frontman Smolov is Russia’s leading scorer on seven.

A prolific performer, hitting 24 goals in all competitions for his club these past two seasons, how he leads the line and getting service to him will be key.

Player to watch: Aleksei Miranchuk

Aleksei Miranchuk is a player to watch with Russia, as our Confederations Cup profile explains.

Aleksei Miranchuk is a player to watch with Russia, as our Confederations Cup profile explains.

Lokomotiv Moscow attacking midfielder Miranchuk emerged as a creative force this past campaign.

His 10 assists and five goals across all competitions supplemented the exploits of Glushakov and Dutch winger Quincy Promes nicely.

Group: A

Tournament hosts tend to get put in the first pool, and this time around is no exception.

Russia will play Oceania champions New Zealand, Euro 2016 winners Portugal and CONCACAF Gold Cup victors Mexico in that order in Group A.

Russia’s preliminary 2017 Confederations Cup squad (27)

Goalkeepers

Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Arsenal Tula), Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow), Aleksandr Belenov (Ufa)

Defenders

Dmitri Kombarov, Ilya Kutepov, Georgi Dzhikiya (all Spartak Moscow); Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shishkin (Krasnodar), Fyodor Kudryashov (Rostov), Andrei Semyonov (Terek Grozny), Viktor Vasin (CSKA), Roman Neustadter (Fenerbahce), Ruslan Kambolov (Rubin Kazan)

Midfielders

Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Denis Glushakov, Aleksandr Samedov, Roman Zobnin (all Spartak); Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA), Aleksei Miranchuk, Dmitri Tarasov (both Lokomotiv); Aleksandr Yerokhin (Rostov), Yury Gazinsky (Krasnodar)

Forwards

Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar), Maksim Kanunnikov (Rubin Kazan), Dmitry Poloz and Aleksandr Bukharov (both Rostov).

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