Big Challenges Awaits Cherchesov

After weeks of speculation and waiting, Vitaly Mutko finally presented Russia’s next national team coach earlier this week. The choice fell on 52-year-old Stanislav Cherchesov, who led Legia Warsaw to the Polish double last season, and he has signed a two-year contract with the Russian Football Union. The Ossetian-born coach won the job ahead of Kurban Berdyev, Sergey Semak and Aleksandr Borodyuk, who all had meetings with Mutko as well, and the goals set for Cherchesov and Sbornaya are enormous … [Read more...]

Russian Dream Team – Martin and Roy

  Some years ago wokring on a project with Spartak, I suggested to, then, General Director Valeri Karpin that they hire Roy Keane. This was the week after they fired, according to supporters and owners, a "useless coach". The fact that the useless coach is now heading up the Qatar-Platini project in PSG shows more about Spartak's stability and vision than about Unai Emery. Last week I re-visited the idea when talking with a Russian football official, but with a twist. Last week it … [Read more...]

Russia in Free Fall on the FIFA Ranking List

Looking at FIFA’s so-called Coca-Cola World Ranking of the best national teams in the world from a Russian point of view is depressing. It is no secret that Russia is far from the 9th place they occupied following the 2008 and 2012 Euros, and even further from the 5th place occupied in 1995 when the national team won eight of their 10 national team games. That Russia is currently ranked 38th is however both disappointing and poor, and exemplifies the state of Sbornaya. After updating the … [Read more...]

Roberto Mancini to Lead Russia?

Ever since Leonid Slutsky resigned as head coach of the Russian national team after a disastrous European Championship, several major names, both domestic and foreign, have entered the rumour mill. On Wednesday another name took the stage, as a source within the Russian Football Union (RFU) revealed that the RFU are considering the current Inter boss Roberto Mancini to lead Sbornaya. “The Russian football Union is considering Mancini’s candidacy to head the national football squad,” the source … [Read more...]

Mario Fernandes – Sbornaya’s Latest Brazilian

When Brazilian born Guilherme Alvim Marinato, better known as Guilherme, played 45 minutes for Russia against Lithuania in March, he became the first player born outside of the former Soviet Union to play for Sbornaya. On Wednesday another Brazilian, CSKA’s Mario Fernandes, received Russian citizenship as well, but this is also where the similarities between the two ends. Because while Lokomotiv Moscow goalkeeper Guilherme went the long way through the official channels, learning Russian and … [Read more...]

The Foreigner Limit and Exorbitant Parties in Monte Carlo

Russia’s poor performances at the Euros have naturally given birth to a large amount of soul searching and discussion about the state of Sbornaya and why it continues to fail on the biggest stage. More than 860,000 people have already signed a petition at social activism website Change.org to disband the national team, while president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) Vitaly Mutko, who is also the Russian sports minister, has expressed a wish to revamp the team, and build it around players … [Read more...]

RFN Podcast: Who Comes After Slutsky, Hulk’s big-money move to China and Rubin’s summer spending

Host Thomas Giles is joined by writers Andrew Flint and David Sansun as well as Editor Toke Theilade. The four of them debate who should be the new manager of the Russian national time following Leonid's Slutsky's exit after a disastorous Euro 2016 campaign. Then, with pre-season now underway, they talk about Hulk's big-money move from Zenit St. Petersburg to China as well as other potential player exits from Saint- Petersburg. Finally they discuss Rubin Kazan's future both short and … [Read more...]

Ragnar Sigurdsson – FC Krasnodar’s Icelandic Viking

Although Iceland’s victory against England in the Round of 16 at the Euros was a textbook example of a brilliant team effort, one player stood out from the rest – central defender Ragnar Sigurdsson. Not only did he score Iceland’s equalizer just six minutes into the game, but also more importantly he was the key figure in the Icelandic defence that bossed English Premier League profiles Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy around in a way that made them look like junior … [Read more...]

Who Can Play for Russia at the 2018 World Cup?

Vitaly Mutko, Russian sports minister and president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), wasn’t happy after Russia’s 3-0 defeat to Wales in the final fixtures of the EURO group stage. “As I said before the game, our team’s performance will demonstrate the real level of our football,” Mutko said. “And that’s precicely what happened. This only means such is the level of our football and we must work at it. Also we must admit there are no top-rate players in our team today and that’s the … [Read more...]

Who’ll Replace Leonid Slutsky?

The optimism and belief in Sbornaya that Leonid Slutsky’s reinstatement created last year completely disappeared as Russia lost 3-0 to Wales in Toulouse Monday. The defeat meant that Russia, once again, fell short of expectations and were eliminated after the group stage. “I believe I failed to fulfil my duties,” head coach Slutsky said after the game, “I believe that someone else should be training us for the more important tournament.” Slutsky, who is also in charge of CSKA Moscow, is … [Read more...]