Russian fans have huge expectations before the home World Cup tournament during the 2018’s summer. The Russians are going to face Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay in Group A of the World Cup but even the fact that the opponents of the Europeans are not among the world’s best does not make the situation better for them. This will be the fourth participation in the World Cup tournaments for Sbornaya after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So far the team had not had the chance to go through the group stage of the biggest tournament in the football world. This will be the task in front of the Russians for this tournament and it will be interesting to see if they can achieve it with the help of its passionate supporters.

HEAD COACH AND LINEUP

The head coach of the Russians is called Stanislav Cherchesov and he is one of the most successful Russians coaches of all time. He had led club teams like Spartak Moscow, Dynamo Moscow and Legia Warsaw. He took the head coaching position of the Russian national football team in 2016. Now, his direct style of football is supposed to help the Russians in their task to go through the group stage of the World Cup. Still, his biggest target will be the creation of team chemistry which historically had always been a problem for the Eastern Europeans.

In the last few months during the friendly games of the Russian (including in the last two games against Brazil and France), the Russians had not proved that they have a good team chemistry and talent in their lineup. The lack of a real leader will be a problem for the hosts of the World Cup. Still, there are some interesting names in the Russian’s national team that can make the difference for the hosts of the World Cup.

The most important goalkeeper in the Russian squad is the captain of CSKA Moscow and the Russian national team – Igor Akinfeev. Without him, we just cannot imagine the Russian lineup. On defense, the key player for the Russians is called Yuri Zhirkov. Zhirkov has plenty of experience in top-level European teams. He is 34 years old and this will be his last chance to achieve something historic. For this reason, he will give his best at the World Cup.

In the midfield line, the key player for the Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov is the star of the Russian football – Alan Dzagoev. Dzagoev can create goal scoring opportunities and his form at the World Cup will be vital for the Russians. The last key player in the Russian lineup is the forward of Krasnodar – Fyodor Smolov. Fyodor can play both as a striker and as a winger, which makes him even more dangerous. Smolov is extremely fast and he will be important during the battles against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and especially Uruguay.

STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES

The biggest football strength for Russia is the deadly counter-attacks which the team is capable of doing. The transition of the Russians from defense to offense is surely the best weapon for this nation. In the same time, the weakest point of the Russian national football team is the horrible defense. For the last decade, the team had been relying on certain players on defense. Now after their resignation from the national team, the Russians still cannot find the best defenders that can form a solid defensive line. For this reason, all the problems for the Russian will come from the questionable defensive line.

FIXTURES

DateTeam 1Team 2VenueLocal Time
14-Jun-18RUSSIASAUDI ARABIALuzhniki Stadium18:00
19-Jun-18RUSSIAEGYPTSaint Petersburg Stadium21:00 
25-Jun-18URUGUAYRUSSIASamara Arena18:00 

The World Cup 2018 in Russia will start with a game between the hosts and Saudi Arabia on June 14th. This will be a ‘’must’’ win the game for the Russians if they want to enter the eliminations stage. After that on June 19th, Sbornaya will play against Egypt. These two teams will be involved in the battle for the top two places and for this reason, this might be the most important game for the players of Stanislav Cherchesov. The group stage battles for Russia will end on June 25th when the Europeans will face the strongest team in Group A – Uruguay. The local fans should be hoping that Uruguay will not play to its full potential since, by the last game of the group stage, the South Americans could have already secured the first place in the group. After the group stage, the potential opponents of Russia could be the teams of Spain and Portugal, unless Iran or Morocco does not provide an upset. Still, the possible qualification of Russia for the next stage is in doubt, so the local fans cannot make sure plans for after June 25th.