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The Opposition Files: Russia

06:20 GMT+3 23/03/2018
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With Brazil set to take on Stanislav Cherchesov's side in Moscow on Friday, Brasil Global Tour takes a closer look at Sbornaya
Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov

A former goalkeeper, Stanislav Cherchesov is a two-time Russian Premier League-winner who won over 35 caps for his country during a near 20-year playing career that also took him to Austria. After coaching spells with local giants Spartak Moscow and Dynamo, he landed the nation's top job in 2016 after leading Legia Warsaw to a Polish League-and-cup double.

Tasked with leading Russia in a home World Cup, Cherchesov has brought down the average age of his squad since his appointment but has repeatedly spoken of the need to find balance in what is a relatively new side.

Rising star: Alexander Golovin (CSKA Moscow)

After a string of good performances in the Russian Premier League and a solid shift against Lyon in the Europa League, 21-year-old Golovin has established himself as a future star of Russian football.

Already a regular in the national side despite his relative lack of experience, Golovin has already demonstrated his value to the Russia setup, contributing two goals in 15 appearances.

One to watch: Igor Akinfeev, CSKA Moscow

Despite concerns about the Russia side’s aging defensive line, there can be no complaints about the man standing behind it. Once considered amongst the most promising goalkeepers in the world, a couple of long-term injuries at key moments in his career scuppered any plans Akinfeev may have had to take his talents to one of Europe’s top leagues.

However, the CSKA Moscow and Russia captain, who has amassed over 100 senior caps for his country, can still be counted on to put in a top-level performance between the posts.

The view from Russia

James Vick - Goal Russia :

"The Russian national team appears to be undergoing a renaissance in the lead-up to the World Cup. Although many of the old faces – players like Ignashevich, Vasily Berezutsky and Yuri Zhirkov – are still in and around the squad, they have been bolstered by some fresh and exciting new talent, notably CSKA Moscow’s Alexander Golovin and Lokomotiv’s Anton and Alexei Miranchuk.
"Key striker Alexander Kokorin will unfortunately miss this match, and the World Cup, due to an ACL tear picked up during Zenit’s Europa League match with RB Leipzig. However, the squad is not short of capable replacements upfront, and Krasnodar’s Fyodor Smolov, linked to Borussia Dortmund in January, will be hoping to make an impact."

Brazil meet Russia at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on Friday, March 23.

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