1994 World Cup: The Letter of Fourteeners Mutiny

The 1994 World Cup is famous for two things; being the first held outside of Europe and South America, and Diana Ross’ goal-exploding penalty – of which she missed by some distance - at the opening ceremony. The tournament is without a general wonder goal such as James Rodriguez’ in Brazil, or a pivotal moment like Paul Gascoigne’s yellow card at Italia ‘90, however, highly emotional moments have burned into our retina’s today; Diego Maradona’s lung-bursting roar against Greece and subsequent … [Read more...]

Where are they now? Russia’s U17 European Champions

11 years ago, in the summer of 2006, the Russian U17 national team took over Europe in a storm as it won the European Championship. The players were born in in 1989, meaning they are 28 now, and should all be established professionals. This is certainly the case with many of the other participants from the tournament such as Axel Witsel and Toby Alderweireld from Belgium, Toni Kroos from Germany, Miralem Pjanic from Luxembourg (who now plays for Bosnia & Herzegovina), Stevan Jovetic from … [Read more...]

2018 World Cup: Analysis of Russia’s Group

The biggest sporting event in the world takes place in Russia for the first time ever from 14 June 2018. On Friday, the 32 teams who have qualified discovered their fate and know exactly who they will be facing in the Group Stages, with the draw taking place at the Kremlin. For once, a site of disseminating information elsewhere. Here is a closer look at Group A of the World Cup Russia 2018. They will face Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in what seems like a promising group for the hosts, who … [Read more...]

Russian National Team: signs of progress towards 2018 World Cup

Despite losing 0-1 against Argentina at the Luzhniki and drawing 3-3 with Spain at the Stadium St. Petersburg, an optimistic aura seems to surround the Russian national team. It is now abundantly clear that under Stanislav Cherchesov, Sbornaya is finally starting to come together, play with an apparent identity, and most importantly, pick up results. Eighteen months ago in France, Russia was a team devoid of an identity, packed with ageing stars of former glories in their twilight years. The … [Read more...]

International Preview: Russia – Spain

The match against Argentina was a promising performance, undone by some genuine quality and a glaringly obvious missed offside decision. Post-match, not quite the promising and more of the horrendous, with reports of overcrowding and over 1.5-hour queues and to get out of the Luzhniki and onto the Moscow Metro. Let's hope the game against Spain on Tuesday goes off without a hitch and proves the authorities are ready to organise the logistics of the World Cup next year. The team landed in St … [Read more...]

Soviet’s Last Success: The 1988 European Championship

  In the summer of 1988, Soviet football experienced its last great moment, when the Sbornaya reached the final of the European Championship. A few years later, the union would fall apart, but in 1988 the team was among the football elite. The Soviet Union had failed to qualify for every European Championships as far back as 1972, but under the guidance of head coach Valery Lobanovsky, they came back on track. In the 1986 World Cup, after a great performance in the group stage, … [Read more...]

Nikita Simonyan: How the son of an Armenian illegal immigrant became the ‘Grandfather of Russian Football’

245 matches, 160 goals, 0 yellow card and 0 red cards. These statistics are but a microcosm of Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan’s career for Spartak Moscow. Simonyan was as a player, manager, club ambassador and, above all else, still is a keen supporter of Spartak Moscow, and throughout this time has acted as a humble sportsman, functionary and gentleman. Upon celebrating his 90th birthday last season, the club hosted him as a honoured guest and invited him onto the pitch before the match with FC … [Read more...]

International Preview: Russia – South Korea

After the mess that was September’s hybrid friendly with Dinamo Moscow, this week sees Russia up their World Cup preparations with two home clashes with fellow guaranteed participants South Korea and Iran. Martin Lowe is joined by Tim Lee from Korean football website Tavern of the Taeguk Warriors to run down Saturday’s clash in Moscow.   Russia By Martin Lowe (@PlasticPitch) Now into the final year of preparation ahead of the World Cup, Russia looks to be upping the nature of their … [Read more...]

Sbornaya – Dinamo Moscow: Another RFU Farce

Unfortunately for fans of Russian Football and particularly the Russian National Team, that headline is not a typographical error. While incumbent World Champions Germany face off against the Czech Republic and Norway in two difficult and competitive World Cup Qualifying games, Sbornaya will face Dinamo Moscow at the Arena Khimki on 3 September. Although Russia are playing, the tie has been officially denoted as a "Club Friendly", not an international. Therefore, it is the only game that the … [Read more...]

Reforming the Trans-Siberian Football League

The Football National League is the biggest football league in the world according to geographic area, covering over 4,500 miles as-the-crow-flies and even crosses eight time zones. Due to the size of the league and other problems synonymous with Russian football such as fiscal instability, political corruption and systemic mismanagement, many clubs - as previously explored - do not face a race to thrive, but a battle to survive. READ PART ONE: Problems with the Trans-Siberian Football … [Read more...]