Football: Kharine finds favour

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ANATOLY BYSHOVETS, Russia coach, yesterday recalled the Chelsea goalkeeper Dimitri Kharine and the Hamburg striker Sergei Kiryakov, among a handful of long-estranged foreign-based players, for his first game in charge.

Also back in the squad, despite announcing his retirement from international football earlier this year, was the Rangers winger Andrei Kanchelskis. Kharine and Kiryakov, both dropped during Russia's self-destructive appearance at Euro 96 in England, were among a 25-strong squad picked to travel to Sweden on 19 August for a warm-up friendly before beginning their Euro 2000 qualifying campaign against Ukraine in Kiev on 5 September.

Kiryakov, who joined Hamburg this summer from relegated Karlsruhe, was dramatically ordered home from England by the then coach, Oleg Romantsev, who accused him of undermining morale. Neither Kiryakov, who joins a familiar line-up of Igor Kolyvanov, Vladimir Beschastnykh and Sergei Yuran up front, nor Kharine have played for Russia since.

Kharine, who played no part in Russia's unsuccessful World Cup qualifying bid, takes the place of Benfica's Sergei Ovchinnikov, latterly the first choice under the former coach Boris Ignatyev.

The Celta Vigo midfield pair of Alexander Mostovoi and Valery Karpin make a comeback after being acrimoniously dropped by Ignatyev following a draw in Cyprus last year that ultimately cost Russia a place in France this summer. Another veteran back in the squad is Fortuna Dusseldorf's Igor Dobrovolsky.

Among notable absences, however, there was no place for the winger Andrei Tikhonov or the playmaker Ilya Tsymbalar of the Russian champions, Spartak Moscow.

RUSSIA SQUAD (Friendly v Sweden, Stockholm, 19 August): Goalkeepers: Kharine (Chelsea), Filimonov (Spartak Moscow), Cherchesov (Tirol). Defenders: Nikiforov (PSV Eindhoven), Onopko (Oviedo), Khlestov (Spartak Moscow), Kovtun (Dynamo Moscow), Shmarko (Rotor Volgograd), Solomatin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Igonin (Zenit St Petersburg). Midfielders: Dobrovolsky (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Kanchelskis (Rangers), Karpin, Mostovoi (both Celta Vigo), Shalimov (Napoli), Khokhlov (PSV Eindhoven), Alenichev (Roma), Semak (CSKA Moscow), Titov (Spartak Moscow), Yanovsky (Alania Vladikavkaz), Gerasimenko (Dynamo Kiev). Forwards: Kolyvanov (Bologna), Beschastnykh (Racing Santander), Kiryakov (SV Hamburg), Yuran (VfB Bochum)