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...]

‘Strip Russia’ campaign aiming for World Cup 2018

So there it was. Russia just awarded the World Cup in 2018, and the prime time sports show on Ireland’s top radio station, RTE Radio 1 and I got the call to give our reaction in Moscow. It was fair enough; I’d helped on the bid and worked in Russian sport. Logical as they couldn’t get anyone from the Russian Football Union (RFU) or a Russian sports journalist to come on. Plus my colleague was contracted with RTE and the producer knew me personally. I was there as a favor to give local reaction, … [Read more...]

Vibrating pitch and corruption allegations? A normal day at the office on Krestovsky Island

The uncompleted Zenit Arena in St. Petersburg has once again hit a familiar roadblock in both construction and corruption. The old Kirov Stadium on Krestovsky Island was demolished the best part of a decade ago and the forecasts were that the new stadium, based on the old site, would be opened by 2009. However, thanks to numerous delays ranging from design flaws to monetary issues, we may now not see the stadium be ready in time for the fast-approaching 2017 Confederations Cup. Despite … [Read more...]

Anatoli Ilyin – The Golden Striker

On Thursday, February 11, the 84-year-old Anatoli Ilyin left our world. Perhaps you have never heard about him, but he was a football icon in the Soviet Union and especially at Spartak during the 1950’s. The Red-Whites owes much of their reputation Ilyin, who scored many important goals during his career. In 1956 for example, he scored the winning goal in the final of the Olympic Games in Melbourne against the rival Yugoslavia, a goal that earned him the title Master of Sport of the USSR. In … [Read more...]

USSR – Yugoslavia, the Story of Two Different Football Conceptions

Yugoslavia, the now extinct country, is still a favourite topic among historians. Some describe its positive sides, while others point to the negative impact it had on society, culture and sports. One thing is however certain; it was in many ways a unique country. History has taught us that all countries have a lifespan, just like any other living organism. They are born, but after some time they also die. Yugoslavia sought to enclose all South-Slavic people into one nation, and in doing so the … [Read more...]

Why Russia SHOULD Host the 2018 World Cup

  Ever since Russia won the 2018 World Cup bid it has been surrounded by controversy. With recent political events this has become even bigger news and many have even suggested that Russia should be stripped of the right to host the World Cup in 2018. The other side of the argument that rarely gets heard is why Russia should host the World Cup. The recent crisis in Ukraine has brought Russia and Eastern Europe under the microscope. However, this has been largely in a negative light … [Read more...]

Lev Yashin: The Black Panther Who Changed the Goalkeeper Position

Very few players in the history of football have made a bigger mark in the history books than Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin, who played 326 first team games for Dynamo Moscow between 1950 and 1970, and won the Olympics, Euros, five Soviet championships and three Soviet cup tournaments. Yashin was also awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967, which was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union. Last but not least did Yashin win the Balon d’Or, the honor given to Europe’s best football player. … [Read more...]

Round Table: Alan Dzagoev

  Sergey (@Shadow1882) – a Voronezh based student CSKA Supporter and Football follower Ben (@CSKAMoscowENG) – Russian Football follower, CSKA Supporter, England resident Connor (@Con_027) – Russian Football follower, CSKA Supporter, England resident Xavier (@AxeMurderer60) – French Russian Football fan and CSKA Supporter … [Read more...]

16 Stars Who Took Russia to the World Cup

The list itself comes from an October 16 photo feature on, while I did the write-ups. 1) Igor Akinfeev, Goalkeeper Overlooked by Dick Advocaat at Euro 2012' in favor of Vyacheslav Malafeev, the CSKA captain started every single qualifying game under Fabio Capello. He only conceded five goals during the campaign and broke the record for the longest clean sheet kept by a Russian goalkeeper in competitive matches. 2) Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Forward Zenit's Kerzhakov is always … [Read more...]

Ticket to Brazil Nearly Punched

Rui Patricio held his head when the final whistle was blown at the Estadio do Dragao last Friday. His mistake, a poor low pass within reach of Eden Ben Basat, cost Portugal two points, which almost certainly sends the happy Russians to next year's carnival in Brazil. Russia's rampant win that same night, 4-0 away to Luxembourg, coupled with Portugal's draw, means they need just a single point in Baku on Tuesday. Capello's men lead the group by three points and are +7 in goal differential … [Read more...]