RFN Podcast – Dodgy Pitches, Crisis At Tom Tomsk And The Latest Aleksandr Kokorin Scandal

Host Thomas Giles is joined by usual guests Toke Theilade and Andrew Flint to discuss the recent suspension of matches at FC Rostov and Rubin Kazan as a result of their poor pitches following the uproar surrounding the issue in Rostov's Europa League clash against Manchester United. They then talk about the financial chaos at Tom Tomsk and question whether allowing them to continue in the Russian Premier League undermines the competition. Finally, Aleksandr Kokorin is back in the negative … [Read more...]

Preview: Qatar v Russia

This week sees friendly action between the next two World Cup hosts of Russia and Qatar in Doha. We’ve teamed up with Asian football website Sandals for Goalposts to run the rule over the squads and likely outcomes ahead of Thursday's encounter. Qatar The Gulf nation will be using this home encounter with Russia as preparation for their last ditch attempt to crawl back into World Cup qualification reckoning, with a make or break tie in China ahead of them on Tuesday. Their form of late … [Read more...]

Kokorin and Smolov – The Tale of Dinamo’s Two Jewels

Two years ago, Aleksandr Kokorin had just finished his best-ever season for Dinamo Moscow. The then 23-year-old striker had scored ten goals in the league and another four in the World Cup qualification campaign. Kokorin went to score another at the World Cup in Brazil, where he was one of few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing Russian campaign. Meanwhile, his teammate and buddy Fyodor Smolov watched the tournament at home in Moscow together with his model girlfriend, the former Miss … [Read more...]

EURO 2016 Player Profile: Aleksandr Kokorin

  Introduction: The 25-year-old (or 27 depending on who you believe) was meant to be the next big thing and take the mantle from Andrei Arshavin to be Russia's future. However, things have not worked out as planned for Kokorin and his career has stalled somewhat. He first burst onto the scene at Dinamo Moscow in 2007, having come through the academy at neighbours Lokomotiv, and was immediately seen as a potential talent. Despite not hitting great form in his first spell at … [Read more...]

Slutsky’s Choice Part IV: Forwards

After looking at the goalkeepers, defenders, and midfielders, our fourth part of 'Slutsky’s Choice' covers Russia’s forwards. Unlike the other parts of the team, the current goal scoring contingent is less developed with a shallower pool talent. Historically, Russia possessed forwards that performed to varying degrees of success. Igor Kolyvanov, Vladimir Beschasnykh, and Sergey Kyriakov formed the core of the first generation in the wake of the Soviet Union. Their success fluctuated after … [Read more...]

Russia Fire Warning to England Despite Loss in Paris

Despite suffering a narrow 4-2 defeat at the Stade De France this past week, Russia certainly demonstrated more than enough quality to worry European Championship opponents, including opening fixture rivals England. Having gone two goals down early in the first half on what was an emotional night in Paris, as the Stade De France staged its first fixture since the attacks on the city back in November, Russia could have easily rolled over and admitted defeat. However, a strong second half display … [Read more...]

Russia’s Seven Best Winter Signings

Jonathan Mensah FROM Evian TO Anzhi Makhachkala It was no surprise to see Anzhi sign a central-defender in the winter window. After all, they do have the worse defence in the league. What is surprising is the calibre of player they have signed in Jonathan Mensah - not to be mistaken for John Mensah. Experience is what Anzhi need and that is what they have got in Mensah. 36 caps for Ghana includes appearances at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cup. He also played every minute of the Black … [Read more...]

Can Kerzhakov Score His Way Back to Sbornaya?

Aleksandr Kerzhakov after his goal against South Korea at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. On Wednesday evening, Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored twice to help FC Zürich qualify for the Swiss cup final, beating titleholders FC Sion 3-0. The goals against FC Sion, came just three weeks after Kerzhakov opened his account for Zürich when he secured a crucial 2-1 victory away against Luzern. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xwcEoJgA7A Kerzhakov joined Zürich on a six-month loan in January after … [Read more...]

Fatos Bećiraj – More Than Just Kokorin’s Replacement?

With the departure of Aleksandr Kokorin to Zenit, Dinamo strongly needed to strengthen their offensive line, as Pavel Pogrebnyak and youngster Nikolai Obolsky were their only attacking options. During the winter, many players were linked with the Moscow club, for example, Rostov's Dmitriy Poloz as well as Terek's Igor Lebedenko, but none of them found an agreement with the white-blues. For a while it looked like Dinamo would have to settle with the two Russians, which is why it came as a … [Read more...]

Kokorin has missed his last chance to test himself against the best.

When news of Aleksandr Kokorin's move to Zenit St. Petersburg broke two days ago there was celebration from the fans of the Russian Premier League holders. Zenit managed to secure arguably Russia's greatest footballing prospect for the small fee of €2.5m from Dinamo Moscow which also included the fee for his fellow Dinamo player Yuri Zhirkov, quite frankly this is an absolute bargain. With his contract due to expire in a few months, Kokorin had the freedom to pick and choose a club which was … [Read more...]