Russia and the Cursed Group Stage

Come Saturday evening it was clear. After losing 2-1 at home in Kazan to Mexico, the group stage had once again been the last stop for Russia at an international tournament. The group stage is slowly turning into somewhat of a curse for Sbornaya, and not even the home field advantage could break this spell. In fact, since Russia participated for the first time in an international tournament under its own flag at the World Cup in 1994, it has only managed to advance from the group once, back … [Read more...]

Ones To Watch – Aleksandr Golovin

Biography Name: Aleksandr Golovin DOB/Age: 30/05/1996 – 21 years old Club: CSKA Moscow Position: Central midfielder Nationality: Russia Career To Date When Aleksandr Golovin made his debut for the Russian national team in July 2015, he had never started a league game for his club side CSKA Moscow. His call up raised eyebrows in Russia. Why did he deserve a call up the national team aged 19 and with just 121 senior minutes to his name? Just 15 minutes after coming on as a sub in the … [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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Football Development Index – A Real Ranking Method

I'd won 3 fights on the bounce, beaten the national #1 in my weight and still moved down a spot.  In my mind I was de facto #1 until it was explained to me how the system worked.  I was only 18 and my love of ratings and rankings altered forever.  This harsh lesson served me well in sports management, yet found it impossible to sell a solid "prospect" when the sponsored ranking list told a different story.  I’d to approach the task from a different angle. Two quick examples, one tennis, the … [Read more...]

EURO 2016 Coach Profile: Leonid Slutsky

Leonid Slutsky is a man who has come to symbolise intricate Russian harmony in the country's Euro 2016 qualification campaign. Incontrovertibly, his presence as head coach of the Russian national side brought a calm to quell the storm created under previous manager Fabio Capello, who left the post under a cloud of unpopularity and stagnation in July 2015. When Slutsky took over upon the Italian's departure, Russia languished four points behind leaders Sweden in third in Group G, with a record … [Read more...]