U21 Euro Warm Up: What Happened to Russia’s 2013 Squad?

Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem before the U21 Euro game between Israel and Italy. Photo: Assaf Yekuel

Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem before the U21 Euro game between Israel and Italy. Photo: Assaf Yekuel

On Saturday, the 21st edition of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship kicks off in Poland. Unfortunately, the Russian national team fell short of expectations and failed to qualify, once again, and it has only played at three of the 13 tournaments held since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The last time it participated was in 2013, when the championship was hosted by Israel.

Back then, the team coached by Nikolay Pisarev found itself in the Group of Death alongside Germany, Netherlands and the future champions from Spain, and it left the tournament with zero points and a goal difference of minus six. Despite this, the Russian side delivered a decent performance, as it only lost 1-0 to Spain after a winner in the 82nd minute by Álvaro Morata, while they also led against Germany in the final game.

But how have the 23 Russians playing that summer fared since the tournament?

Goalkeepers:

1 Nikolai Zabalotny

Playing for FC Rostov on loan from Spartak Moscow at the time, Zabalotny was the first choice at the tournament. He started the first two games, but was benched for the final game after the 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands. After the Euros, he left Spartak and joined FC Ural, which turned out to be a good move as he has been their first choice since.

12 Stanislav Kritsyuk

Being the youngest of the three goalkeepers, Kritsyuk was the third choice, and he spent all the games on the bench. Since then however, he has become the most successful of the three goalkeepers by far, and in January last year, left Braga and joined FC Krasnodar. Since leaving Portugal and moving back to Russia, Kritsyuk has become a regular part of Sbornaya, and although he is currently injured and will miss out on the Confederations Cup, he has been capped twice.

16 Aleksandr Filtsov

Aleksandr Filtsov played the final game against Germany. At the time of the tournament, he played for Krasnodar, but he has never really left his mark anywhere, and since becoming a senior he has had somewhat of a journeyman career, having already played for Lokomotiv Moscow, Krasnodar, Rubin Kazan, Arsenal Tula and Anzhi Makhachkala at the age of 27.

Defenders:

2 Ibrahim Tsallagov

Tsallagov started all three games and played the full 90 minutes in the final two. At the time of the tournament, he was already an established part of Krylia Sovetov Samara, whom he represented with huge success until December 2016, when he took the big step to join Zenit St. Petersburg. The versatile defender is however yet to break through at the Blue-White-Sky Blues.

3 Georgy Schennikov

The CSKA Moscow defender was one of eight players with full Sbornaya caps prior to the tournament. After breaking through for CSKA in 2009, he was already a household name and one of the most experienced players in the squad. Therefore, it was little surprise that he started all three games, and played all of the first two before being sent off in the final game against Germany. He has since helped the Army Men win to the Russian championship and three Russian cups while also being capped ten times by the national team.

4 Nikita Chicherin

Dinamo Moscow’s Chicherin started Russia’s first two games, but was sent off against the Netherlands. At the time of his red card, Russia were only down 1-0. A few months after the tournament, Dinamo terminated his contract, and he has since then struggled to find regular playing time after failed stints at Volga Nizhny Novgorod, Tom Tomsk, Sakhalin and Armenian side Mika. This season he finally found it as he started 36 games for Yenisey Krasnoyarsk, and helped them finish third in the FNL.

5 Taras Burlak

Despite receiving his national team debut in 2011, and being the captain at the tournament, Burlak’s career has never really reached the expected heights. He started off well at Lokomotiv, but left the Railroaders in 2014 to join Rubin Kazan. After a slow start, which forced him to play two seasons on loan at Krylia Sovetov, he returned to Rubin this season and played well. He is yet to add another cap to his CV though.

13 Sergey Bryzgalov

Spartak’s Bryzgalov spent all of the tournament on the bench. The defender, who can also play as a defensive midfielder, never managed his breakthrough for the Red-Whites, and before this season, he left the capital to join Terek Grozny. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a success either, and this winter, he then joined Anzhi.

23 Aleksey Nikitin

Just like Bryzgalov, Nikitin also spent the entire tournament on the bench, something that has unfortunately been characteristic for his club career too. At the time of the tournament, he played for FNL side Yenisey. He later moved to the RFPL and Amkar Perm, where he played two seasons without much success before joining FC Ufa in the summer of 2015, where he still plays today.

15 Maksim Belyaev

Belyaev played every minute of Russia’s two last games. He was once considered one of the most promising players at Lokomotiv’s academy, and in 2009, he received his debut for the first team at the age of 18. Unfortunately, he failed to follow up on his early promise, and after loans at Dinamo Bryansk and Torpedo Vladimir, he spent time at both Shinnik Yaroslav and Rostov before joining Arsenal Tula in 2016. He is now an important part of Arsenal’s team, and started 26 games last season.

Midfielders:

6 Yuri Kirillov

After a successful season on loan at Ufa from Dinamo Moscow, Kirillov was rewarded with a call-up to the Euros, where he played 10 minutes in the first game after replacing Tsallagov. Unfortunately, this was also the peak of Kirillov’s career as things stands right now. After the tournament, he left Dinamo, and he has since represented six different clubs, currently playing for Olimpiyets Nizhny Novgorod in the Russian second division.

7 Sergey Petrov

The versatile Krasnodar player played every minute in all of Russia’s three games. Having joined the club the year before from Krylia Sovetov, Petrov has since the Euro turned into a prized asset at the club, whom he helped win its first set of medals when it finished third in the RFPL. In August last year, Stanislav Cherchesov gave him his debut on the national team, where he has currently been capped twice.

8 Oleg Shatov

The Anzhi midfielder was one of the big stars in the squad. Having joined the big-spending Dagestani side in January 2012, Shatov made his debut for the national team a few months before the tournament, in February 2013. He played in all three games at the tournament, starting the two first. Shortly after the Euros, he joined Zenit where he has since established himself as one of the leading players. In 2015, he won his first Russian championship, and in 2016 he also helped Zenit win the cup. He has currently been capped 28 times for the national team, and played at both the 2014 World Cup and 2016 European championship.

18 Roman Emelyanov

Emelyanov spent the two first games on the bench before starting the final game against Germany. Unfortunately, he was substituted after only 43 minutes, so the Shakhtar Donetsk player didn’t leave much of a mark. After the tournament, he moved back to Russia as he joined FC Rostov. The move was no success though, and it wasn’t until Emelyanov joined Ural before the 2014/15 season that he finally lived up to expectations. In 2016, he was included in the RFN Top 50 for the first time, and Cherchesov has also called him up for the national team, although without granting him his debut.

19 Maksim Grigoriev

Lokomotiv’s Grigoriev played two games at the tournament, starting one and coming off the bench once. The tricky winger was once regarded as a huge talent, proven by the four national team games given to him by Fabio Capello between 2012 and 2014. Like many others in the squad however, he hasn’t followed up on his early promise, and after failing to meet the standards expected at Lokomotiv and Rostov, he joined Orenburg this winter.

20 Shota Bibilov

Bibilov made two appearances during the tournament, starting against Spain and coming off the bench against the Netherlands. At the time, he played for Volga with whom he was relegated from the RFPL the season after the tournament. Afterwards, he played three seasons for Rubin Kazan without making a single league appearance. He currently plays for Volgar Astrakhan in the FNL.

21 Aleksandr Zotov

2013 was a breakout year for Zotov. Playing on loan at Tom Tomsk from Spartak Moscow, he finally began making an impact as a senior player. Unfortunately, however, he never quite managed to break through for the Red-Whites despite receiving plenty of trust from Dmitry Alenichev in the 2015/16 season, when he started 12 games. Before this season, he moved to Dinamo Moscow, where he has been an enormous success as they earned promotion back to the RFPL.

14 Pavel Yakovlev

Like Bryzgalov and Zotov, Yakovlev is another graduate of the Spartak academy who never broke through for the Red-Whites. He played in all three games during the Euros, starting the two first. After less successful loan moves to Krylia Sovetov and Mordovia Saransk, Yakovlev finally left Spartak permanently in August 2016, when he signed a three-year contract with Anzhi.

17 Denis Cheryshev

Alongside Kritsyuk and Emelyanov, Real Madrid Castilla winger Cheryshev was one of three players in the squad not playing in Russia. He played in all three games, starting twice, and scored Russia’s sole goal against Netherlands. He earned his debut for Sbornaya in November 2012, a year and a half before the tournament, but since then he has only added eight caps to his name. Cheryshev never broke through for Real, and his stay at the Royal club is best remembered by his illegal appearance against Cadiz CF in the cup, which saw Real kicked out. He later played for Sevilla, with whom he won the 2013/14 Europa League, Villarreal and Valencia on loan, before permanently joining Villarreal in June 2016. Injuries have however kept him from making a serious impact at the Yellow Submarine.

22 Alan Dzagoev

Breaking through for both CSKA and the Russian national team in 2008 already, Dzagoev was by far the biggest name in the Russian squad and even one of the biggest at the tournament. He wasn’t in the squad for the first game as he was playing for the senior national team, but played all of the last two games, and even scored the opening goal against Germany. Dzagoev has won three Russian championships, four Russian cups, and in 2012 he became the joint top scorer at the 2012 Euro, where he scored three times. He has played 51 games for the Russian national team, making him by far the most successful player in the squad.

Strikers:

9 Andrey Panyukov

Panyukov came off the bench once during the tournament, playing 17 minutes against Netherlands as Russia desperately tried to turn the game around. At the time, he was under contract at Dinamo, but he never made an impact at the Moscow side. He later drifted around on loan before finally joining Lithuanian side Atlantas, where a hugely successful 2015 campaign saw him earn a move to French side Ajaccio. He eventually returned to Atlantas, where he currently plays, having also spent a short time at Braga’s second team. He currently has 11 goals in 17 matches for Atlantas in the 2017 season.

11 Maksim Kanunnikov

After starting his career at Zenit, Kanunnikov joined Amkar six months before the tournament. This turned out to be a good idea as it saw him earn a call up, and 32 minutes against Spain in the opening match. He spent another season at Amkar, before joining Rubin prior to the 2014/15 season. Kanunnikov has currently been capped 11 times by the national team, and he was a part of the squad for the 2014 World Cup as well as the upcoming Confederations Cup.

10 Fedor Smolov

Sitting just below Dzagoev, Smolov is the second-most successful player in the squad. After struggling to break through at Dinamo, and later enduring failed loan moves to Feyenoord and Anzhi Makhachkala, Smolov joined Ural on loan in September, 2014. This turned out to be a fantastic move, and Smolov quickly became a profile in the league. After the season, he joined Krasnodar, and at this point, he has established himself as the best striker in the RFPL, having finished as top scorer two seasons in a row, and played 21 games for Sbornaya.

Toke Møller Theilade

Author: Toke Møller Theilade

Brøndby supporter, groundhopper and more importantly Editor-in-Chief at Russianfootballnews.com. As a hopeless romantic, I still believe Fyodor Smolov and Viktoria Lopyreva has a future together.

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