Where are they now? Russia’s U17 European Champions

11 years ago, in the summer of 2006, the Russian U17 national team took over Europe in a storm as it won the European Championship. The players were born in in 1989, meaning they are 28 now, and should all be established professionals. This is certainly the case with many of the other participants from the tournament such as Axel Witsel and Toby Alderweireld from Belgium, Toni Kroos from Germany, Miralem Pjanic from Luxembourg (who now plays for Bosnia & Herzegovina), Stevan Jovetic from Serbia and Montenegro (now just Serbia), César Azpilicueta and Bojan Krkić from Spain and many more. Joint top-scorer of the tournament was Tomáš Necid, former CSKA Moscow striker from 2009-2015. But what happened to those 18 Russians who conquered all these great players?



Roman Savenkov (Team in 2006: Krylya Sovetov-SOK Dimitrovgrad): Savenkov served as back-up goalkeeper at the tournament and didn’t get any playing time. He never reached the Russian top flight, and he is now retired from football.

Evgeni Pomazan (Kuban Krasnodar): Pomazan was for a long time considered a highly promising goalkeeper, and he moved to CSKA Moscow shortly after the European Championship. Here he deputized for Igor Akinfeev for a while, but he never broke through at CSKA. He was eventually loaned out and had stints at FC Ural and Spartak Nalchik before being sold to Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011. There, he managed 21 games between 2011 and 2016, when he moved to Kuban Krasnodar. He currently plays for FNL-side Baltika Kaliningrad.



Sergei Morozov (Torpedo Moscow): The pinnacle of Morozov’s career was a single game on the U21 national team in 2009. He managed a few games for Torpedo Moscow before leaving the club in 2009 in exchange for Amkar. He currently plays for third division side Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, which he has done since 2015.

Artem Samsonov (Torpedo Moscow): Following the Euros, Samsonov managed a handful of games for Torpedo Moscow. However, in the end, he wasn’t good enough to make a name for himself, and he has spent many years as somewhat of a journeyman. Aged 28, Samsonov has spent most of his career in the lower leagues, representing clubs such as Dinamo Bryansk, Dinamo Barnaul and Sibir Novosibirsk while also enjoying a short stint in Kazakhstan. He currently plays for Energomash Belgorod in the third division.

Anton Vlasov (Krylya Sovetov-SOK Dimitrovgrad): Anton Vlasov took the big step to CSKA Moscow in 2008, but never broke through. He then spent time on loan at Anzhi Makhachkala, Volga Nizhny Novgorod, Khimik Dzerzhinsk and Gazovik Orenburg before signing permanently with FC Taganrog in 2012. He is now a free agent.

Roman Amirkhanov (Lokomotiv Moscow): Although not being a household name, Amirkhanov turned out to be one of the most successful players in the squad. He never managed to break through in Russia, but in 2012 he moved to Skonto Riga in Latvia, where he won the championships. He later returned to Russia’s lower divisions and is now a free agent.



Aleksandr Sapeta (Saturn Ramenskoe): Unlike most of his teammates, Sapeta actually broke through and became a household Premier League name. After a few seasons at Saturn, he moved to Dinamo Moscow in 2011, where he became a regular. After two seasons at Dinamo, he moved to FC Ural in 2013. In his last season for Ural, the 2015/2016 season, he scored seven Premier League goals. Afterwards, he moved back to Dinamo Moscow to help them return to the Premier League after their relegation. He remains an important Dinamo player to this day.

Vadim Gagloiev (CSKA Moscow): The midfielder made his debut for CSKA in a cup game against Mordovia Saransk just a few months after the tournament, but that was about it. Over the next decade, he wandered from club to club without ever breaking through, and he is now a free agent after having represented Amkar Perm, FC Tyumen, Alania Vladikavkaz, Mordovia and Enisei Krasnoyarsk among others.

Semen Fomin (Lokomotiv Moscow): Fomin made his debut for Lokomotiv in December 2007, when he featured in a UEFA Cup match against Panathinaikos. Later he spent time on loan at Zvezda Irkurtsk, Torpedo Vladimir, Spartak Nalchik and Rotor Volgograd before being released in 2013. He returned to the top flight in 2014/2015, when he played for Torpedo Moscow, and last season he played 15 games for FC Ufa. He is now playing for Luch Energiya Vladivostok.

Igor Gorbatenko (Krylya Sovetov-SOK Dimitrovgrad): In 2008, Gorbatenko moved to Spartak Moscow, but although he played a handful of games, he was never successful. After loans at FC Ural and Dinamo Bryansk, he left the club in 2013 and hereafter followed a few seasons as a journeyman. He is now a regular at Arsenal Tula.

Yan Bobrovski (Zenit St. Petersburg): Bobrovski never reached Zenit’s first team, and after a short period at Lithuanian side Zalgiris in 2010, he was trialling at various Russian clubs looking for a contract. During a trial at Baltika Kaliningrad in the summer of 2011, he injured his cruciate ligaments, which later forced him to retire. He did play a handful of games for the Togliatti academy in 2012, but he retired after that season. He is now a referee, officiating matches in the third division.

Pavel Mochalin (Zenit St. Petersburg): Just like Bobrovski, Mochalin also failed to make his name at Zenit. Therefore, in 2011, he moved to Latvian side Ventspils whom he helped win the championship. Afterwards, he returned to Russia, where he among others played for SKA Khabarovsk. He is currently playing for SK Babite in the Latvian top flight.

Amir Kashiev (CSKA Moscow): Kashiev was an integral part of the team that won the Euro, but his career fell short of expectations. He played two cup games for the army men in the 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 seasons, but that was it. He left the club in 2009 and went to represent smaller clubs like Gazovik Orenburg, Dinamo Stavropol and FC Oktan Perm. He’s no longer playing professionally.

Denis Shcherbak (Krilya Sovetov-SOK Dimitrovgrad): Shcherbak made his debut in the second division in 2006, but he never made it any further. In 2009, he represented Krilya Sovetov Samara for a while, but without making his debut. Afterwards, he moved around among numerous smaller clubs without ever really making much of an impact. After stints in the lower leagues of Russia as well as clubs from Switzerland and Latvia, he now plays amateur football for FC Murom.



Evgeni Korotaev (Krylya Sovetov-SOK Dimitrovgrad): Korotaev was another player from the famous academy in Togliatti. Despite scoring quite a few goals during a young age, he never made it any further. His club peak was a short stint at Gazovik Orenburg, and he is now without a club after numerous failed stints at lower league clubs.

Aleksandr Prudnikov (Spartak Moscow): Prudnikov has been part of the Premier League for a decade now. He made his debut for Spartak in 2007 and has managed to make a name for himself. Despite never really hitting the expected highs, he has been employed by top-flight clubs for more than a decade. He is currently playing for Anzhi Makhachkala and has scored 20 Premier League goals in total throughout his career for clubs like Kuban Krasnodar, Rubin Kazan, Dinamo Moscow, Amkar Perm and FC Orenburg.

Dmitri Ryzhov (Krylya Sovetov-SOK Dimitrovgrad): Shortly after the Euros, Ryzhov took the trip to CSKA Moscow. Unfortunately, he never became a success. He was in Moscow for five years but only played ten games in total for the army men. He left the club in 2012, and has spent the majority of his time ever since in the FNL. He is currently without a club after being released by Ararat Moscow.

Aleksandr Marenich (FC Rostov): Marenich made his name in Rostov, and he was a hyped player in his youth. In 2007, he moved to FC Moscow, and after the club was bankrupt he joined Alania Vladikavkaz and later Lokomotiv Moscow. He never reached Lokomotiv’s first team, but he did well enough on the second team to get picked up by Spartak Moscow when he left the club in 2013. He left Spartak again the year after without ever playing for the first team. After stints at some smaller clubs, he retired in the beginning of 2017, when he also received his coaching licence.

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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