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...]

Viktor Fayzulin’s Trip Through Injury Hell

80 minutes into the game against Amkar Perm on September 20, 2015, Viktor Fayzulin had to leave the pitch with an injury. The now 31-year-old midfielder was clearly in pain and was replaced by Artur Yusupov. The injury was a hard blow for Fayzulin, who had only just recovered from a long-term injury, but assistant coach Sergey Semak was optimistic after the game, stating that Fayzulin “was fine”. Shortly after, Leonid Slutsky even called him up for a game with the national team, proving that … [Read more...]

Editorial: Structural Problems are the Reasons for Russia’s Early Exit

Three games, one victory and a quick exit. That was the result of Russia’s first major tournament on home soil, the Confederations Cup. The quick exit naturally let to discussions about who was to blame for the failure of once again not making it out the group stage, but head coach of Sbornaya, Stanislav Cherchesov, was quick to end these discussions. “This is my mistake,” he said in the press conference after the final game against Mexico, which was lost 2-1, and continued: “I will take it upon … [Read more...]

What Can the World Expect from Sbornaya at the Confederations Cup?

When Russia  take on New Zealand in St. Petersburg on Saturday afternoon, it will be the culmination of a long year with Stanislav Cherchesov as head coach. Since his appointment after the failed Euros, Cherchesov has worked hard on assembling a team that could bring glory to Russia on home ground by the World Cup in 2018, and the Confederations Cup is the first real test of the level of the Russian national team, also known as Sbornaya. Cherchesov’s men have warmed up at a training camp … [Read more...]