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...]

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 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...]

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...]

EURO 2016 Preview: Russia – Wales

Two breath-taking celebrations have personified Sbornaya’s European Championships’ thus far; Vasiliy Berezutskiy and Marek Hamšík’s fervent roars upon scoring each of their respective goals in the tournament. Although in a breathless finish in which Russia threatened to equalise, earlier defensive errors, stagnant creativity and selection errors condemned them to a crushing defeat against Slovakia. Now we look ahead and evaluate whether or not Sbornaya can claim a victory against Wales, and give … [Read more...]

The Last Time They Met: Russia – Wales (2009)

Russia go into their final group game knowing that they need to win to have a chance of not exiting the tournament. Following the defeat to Slovakia in Lille, the Russians sit bottom of group B with one point. Wales, for whom Gareth Bale has already scored two free-kicks, have three points; Daniel Sturridge gave England a last-gasp 2-1 win against them last time out. If Russia are to live up to their billing as bookmakers’ favourites and win against Wales, they would do well to replicate … [Read more...]

RFN Podcast: Euro 2016 Match Special – Slovakia Review and Wales Preview

Host Thomas Giles is joined by website editor Toke Theilade and writer Andrew Flint to discuss Russia's poor display in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Slovakia before looking ahead to Sbornaya's must-win clash against Wales taking place on Monday. You can also find our podcast on Itunes: If you have anything … [Read more...]

Editorial: Russia’s Failures Fall Back on Slutsky

I have for a long time praised CSKA Moscow and especially Leonid Slutsky for his trust in his players and his continuity, which has been the Army Men’s biggest strength in the fight against the financial superior opponents from Zenit St. Petersburg. Since Slutsky took over CSKA in 2009, he has guided the Army Men to three league titles and two Russian cup titles, which is indeed impressive. It was also impressive when Slutsky took over the Russian national team last summer after the … [Read more...]

The Last Time They Met: Slovakia – Russia (2011)

Russia will look to build on Vasily Berezutski’s last-gasp equaliser against England when they face Slovakia in Lille. Slovakia, following their opening game loss to Wales, need to win but it does not bode well for them – if recent head-to-head records are anything to go by. The two teams last played on 26th May 2014, before the World Cup in Brazil, in St Petersburg and Russia won the friendly 1-0. Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored the only goal of the game in the 82nd minute to give victory to … [Read more...]