Russia World Cup squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

PROFILE: With the tournament only days away we take an in-depth look at all 32 teams in Russia

Jack Watson
Monday 04 June 2018 13:09 BST
2018 Russia World Cup in numbers

The last time Russia won a competitive match was in October 2015, depending on whether you consider the Confederations Cup competitive. As such, we can safely assume that a remarkable run in their own World Cup is highly unlikely given their poor international form.

Stanislav Cherchesov is the man charged with picking up a fragile side left to him by Lenonid Slutsky, who resigned as Russia’s head coach after finishing bottom in their 2016 Euro group.

Cherchesov, who used to play in goal for Russia, has made strengthening the defence his priority as he bids to avoid another disappointing Russian performance at a major tournament. He plays four at the back instead of Slutsky’s three and has brought in some less capped players, including Fedor Kudryashov and Ilya Kutepov, to replace the squad’s ageing defence.

To qualify from their group ahead of Uruguay and Egypt and better their best historic finish in a World Cup by reaching the first knockout stage would represent some achievement for the host nation. However, the lack of creative or technical players with flair going forward suggests it is more likely they will seriously struggle to get out of Group A.


Russia vs Saudi Arabia – 16:00, Thursday 14 June
Russia vs Egypt – 19:00, Tuesday 19 June
Russia vs Uruguay – 15:00, Monday 25 June

Key Players

Fyodor Smolov: Reportedly being eyed up by recently promoted Wolves and Fulham, and subject to a rejected West Ham bid in January, Fyodor Smolov has been impressing clubs around Europe with his performances for Russian side FK Krasnodar. His 14 league goals guided Krasnodar to a surprising fourth-place finish. Fans will be hoping this 28-year-old can find form this summer and score his first major tournament goal for Russia.

Igor Akinfeev: The veteran goalkeeper has gained a good reputation in Europe and was said to have impressed Sir Alex Ferguson with his shot stopping at a time when Manchester United were looking for a new goalkeeper. His one-club loyalty to CSKA Moscow has seen him appear on our screens in European competitions, and last year he ended a run of 11 years without a Champions League clean sheet.

Alan Dzagoev in action for Russia against Brazil (Getty)

Alan Dzagoev: A long term admirer of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, Alan Dzagoev is a talented attacking midfielder that has spent the last ten years playing for CSKA Moscow. Dzagoev has been ever-present in the Russian side after breaking into the team following his impressive debut season for CSKA. He shared the 2012 Euro top scorer award with Mario Ballotelli, Mario Gomez, Mario, Mandzukic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Torres, all of whom scored three goals each.

One to watch

Fyodor Chalov: Russia has been crying out for a young and intuitive goal scorer for many years and they might have finally found one in Fyodor Chalov. Having represented Russia from under-15 level, Chalov has plenty of experience playing for his country but did not have a single first team cap to his name when he was included in Cherchesov’s World Cup squad. Chalov is an intelligent and nippy forward around the box, capable of scoring all kinds of goals as well as being good in the air despite being shorter than 6ft.

How did they get here?

As host nation Russia did not have to qualify and were automatically placed in Group A.

How will they do?

Even the most optimistic and passionate Russia fan will see their chances of advancing from their group as a stretch. To get through to the last sixteen they will need to beat Saudi Arabia and get at least a draw from either Uruguay or Egypt to stand any chance of progression.

Stanislav Cherchesov is the man charged with guiding Russia at this summer’s World Cup (Getty)

In last years’ Confederations Cup, a tournament held as a warm-up to the World Cup for the host nation and the winners of each continent’s cup winners, Russia beat New Zealand but lost to Portugal and Mexico. Since then they’ve conceded three goals to Brazil and France in friendlies.

Odds of winning the tournament: 40/1


Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Club Brugge), Soslan Dzhanaev (Rubin Kazan), Andrey Lunev (Zenit St Petersburg);

Defenders: Vladimir Granat, Ruslan Kambolov, Fedor Kudryashov (all Rubin Kazan), Ilya Kutepov (Spartak Moscow), Roman Neustadter (Fenerbahce), Konstantin Rausch (Dynamo Moscow), Andrey Semenov (Akhmat Grozny), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg), Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moscow);

Midfielders: Yuri Gazinskiy (Krasnodar), Alexsandr Golovin, Alan Dzagoev (both CSKA Moscow), Aleksandr Erokhin, Yuri Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev (all Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Zobnin, Alexsandr Samedov (both Spartak Moscow), Anton Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Aleksandr Tashaev (Dynamo Moscow), Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal);

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Arsenal Tula), Aleksey Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar), Fedor Chalov (CSKA Moscow).

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in