Russia: The Ultimate Euro 2020 Preview

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90 Minutes At A Time

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Champions of the inaugural European Championship back in 1960 when they played as the Soviet Union, Russia have undergone a transitional period in recent years.

The old guard delivered a disappointing farewell with a limp showing at Euro 2016 but a refreshed lineup restored national pride at the home World Cup two years later.

Now in 2021, Russia will be hoping to kick on and progress from a challenging group B.

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, RUSSIA

Captain: Artem Dzyuba

Manager: Stanislav Cherchesov

FIFA Ranking: 38

Best Finish: Champions – 1960 (as USSR)

Fixtures:

Belgium v RUSSIA – 12 June, 20:00 (BST). Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Finland v RUSSIA – 16 June, 14:00 (BST). Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia

RUSSIA v Denmark – 21 June, 20:00 (BST). Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Qualification

Despite being beaten emphatically by fellow Group B side Belgium home and away, Russia won all eight of their games against the rest of their qualification Group I opponents to qualify comfortably.

Artem Dzyuba finished top scorer in the group with nine goals, while Stanislav Cherchesov’s side were equally mean in defence, conceding just one goal in their eight fixtures against Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin (Rubin), Matvei Safonov (Krasnodar), Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moskva)

Defenders: Igor Diveev (CSKA Moskva), Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moskva), Mário Fernandes (CSKA Moskva), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Zenit), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor), Andrei Semenov (Akhmat)

Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Denis Cheryshev (Valencia), Daniil Fomin (Dinamo Moskva), Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco), Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit), Andrei Mostovoy (Zenit), Maksim Mukhin (CSKA Moskva), Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moskva)

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit), Aleksei Ionov (Krasnodar), Denis Makarov (Rubin), Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta), Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak Moskva), Anton Zabolotny (CSKA Moskva)

Source: UEFA.com

Danger Man – Artem Dzyuba

One of Russia’s heroes from the 2018 World Cup, 32-year-old Artem Dzyuba will captain his country at Euro 2020.

With 29 goals from 51 international appearances, Dzyuba needs just one goal to equal Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s all-time record of 30. A nailed-on starter in Russia’s starting XI, don’t be surprised to see the big man towering over defenders and reaching that milestone this summer.

One to Watch – Aleksei Miranchuk

One of a select few in Russia’s squad who plays club football outside of Russia, Miranchuk’s exciting style of play earned a move to Italian side Atalanta in 2020.

Though his debut campaign bore little fruit in terms of goals and assist, he did enough to prove that he has a future at the club and will enter Euro 2020 a better player for it. Likely to compete with the likes of Denis Cheryshev and Aleksandr Golovin for a role in Russia’s attacking midfield, Miranchuk has the potential to be Russia’s shining star this summer.

Premier League Representation

No member of the Russian squad featured in the Premier League in 2020/21, with veteran Yuri Zhirkov the only one with any Premier League experience in the past.

Zhirkov is one of only eight Russians to have featured in the Premier League, along with Andrei Kanchelskis, Dmitri Kharin, Alexei Smertin, Andrei Arshavin, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Route to the Final

  • If Russia top the group, they will play the team that finishes third in Group A, D, E or F.
  • If Russia finish second, they will face the team that finish second in Group A (Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland)
  • If they finish as one of the four best third-place teams, they will play the winner of either Group E or F.

After the second round, the draw will depend on which third-place teams qualified for the knockout stages.

Stats

  • Russia have made it past the group stage of the European Championships only once since the dissolution of the USSR – 2008.
  • Only five players scored more goals in qualifying than Artem Dzyuba’s total of nine.
  • Russia have won 26 of their 42 matches against their Group B opponents, including three of the four in major tournaments.
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