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...]

Dmitry Barinov – Lokomotiv’s Overlooked Leader

Since the introduction of the limit on foreign players, the Premier League has clearly had problems in developing young players and taking them to next level, that is senior football. Many talents have seen their career ruined by money, lack of ambition and lack of trust from their coaches. However, with the ruble's fall things have changed. Clubs have been slowly forced to sell their best players and to start relying on homemade talents. For instance, Aleksandr Golovin and Aleksey Miranchuk … [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 – Iran

Friendly International – Kazan Arena, Kazan 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. After relatively easily dispatching South Korea 4-2 on Saturday, Sbornaya now faces Iran rejuvenated from Stanislav Cherchesov's policy of experimentation.   Tactical Approach As usual, Russia will lineup in their customary 3-5-2 … [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...]

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...]

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...]

Confederations Cup Preview: Russia – Mexico

After losing to Portugal earlier this week, Russia travel back to Kazan, where they also played against New Zealand, with the need to beat Mexico in order to emerge from the group stages of the Confederations Cup. A draw will be enough to take Mexico through and a point would only suffice for Russia in the unlikely event that New Zealand beat Portugal. Last time out The hosts are in danger of missing out on a semi-final spot after losing 1-0 to Portugal in Moscow. Cristiano … [Read more...]