Reactions to Russia’s Confederations Cup Preliminary Squad


Following the announcement of Russia’s provisional 30-man squad for the Confederations Cup, Russian Football News has taken a look at some of the best reactions.

Russia manager Stanislav Cherchesov was philosophical in explaining why up-and-coming goalkeeper Nikita Medvedev from FC Rostov did not make the squad. He said, “You know, there is a train. Players get onto the train via the last carriage and make their way to the VIP carriage by going through the whole train. You cannot just skip to the first carriage. Sometimes there are exceptions but let’s give the younger generation the opportunity to fight for their places in the natural way. Gifts are sometimes harmful.”

Referring to the decision to leave out several big names, Cherchesov said, “To be clear: there are many experienced players, whom we will watch closer to the World Cup, but now  it is the young players who need to prove themselves.”

Esteemed football manager-turned-politician Valeri Gazzaev was concerned by a number of omissions from the squad. He said, “In my opinion, the national squad for the Confederations Cup is really a prototype for the World Cup. The absence of [Igor] Densiov, [Oleg] Shatov, [Aleksandr] Kokorin and [Pavel] Mamaev from this extended list raises certain questions for me.

“Denisov is having one of the best seasons of his career. Mamaev had an injury but no-one doubts his ability. Shatov was one of the main players of the earlier squads and he possesses a certain high level.”

When asked about Kokorin, Gazaev commented, “No-one doubts his talent, although recently there has been a lot of negativity towards him. But he has not lost his ability. So, I believe that you cannot turn down good footballers. In any case, they should be on the extended list.”

Gazaev also felt that veteran defenders Alexei and Vasili Berezutski, as well as Sergei Ignashevich, should have a future for the national side. He said, “Perhaps not using them at the Confederations Cup but, at the World Cup, they simply have to play. Let us look truth in the eye. Defence is the weakest line in the squad so why not form it from experienced CSKA defenders? The aura of authority of the Berezutskis and Ignashevich is very important. Without it, you cannot solve any issues.”

Sport Express conducted a poll asking which player would most be missed from the squad at the Confederations Cup. At the time of writing, Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Oleg Shatov was in pole position with 22.2% of the 17,808 votes.

CSKA’s Brazilian defender Mario Fernandes was given a Russian passport and, since April, has been eligible to play for Russia. Upon being called up for the side, he said, “Of course there is a dream (to play in the Confederations Cup) but, as you have correctly said, it is too early to talk about that. I will continue to train, to play for CSKA and, if the opportunity presents itself, it would be a big honour to play for our national team.”

Ronaldinho, who was in Kazan to mark the opening of the Confederations Cup park, said, “Mario is a wonderful player. He was lucky that he has been called up to the Russian national team. I wish him luck.”

President of the Russian Football Association Vitaly Mutko is hoping that the tournament will hold Russia in good stead for next year’s World Cup. He said, “Of course the Confederations Cup is a test tournament but it will allow us to gain some experience, since we have not been playing in official matches. Call them as you’d like but a friendly is a friendly. I hope that our guys will demonstrate the best of their abilities and that we will not be ashamed of this team.”

Author: John Gorrod

I spent the 2015-16 academic year studying Russian at the Tver State University. One day, I visited the stadium of third-division Volga Tver and ended up helping the fans to paint the fences around the pitch. We became firm friends and they introduced me to the wonderful world of Russian football.


  1. Shatov, Denisov and Kokorin should be on the bench to be available later in game to help out young guys. That’s too much tallent and experience wasted.

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