Russia have to impress as they will be hosting the next edition of the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Soccer Laduma take a look at the profile of Russia, who are drawn Group H with Belgium, Algeria and Korea Republic.
Group H – Russia
World Cup history
Russia have qualified for three World Cups so far in their history. The team qualified for the 1994 and 2002 World Cups before the 2014 tournament.
Russia should play for pride and respect as the country will be hosting the next edition of the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
2010 World Cup campaign:
Russia failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, despite reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Euro in 2008. The Euro 2008 was the first time that the team had passed the group stages of a major tournament in their history.
How they qualified:
Russia were the group winners in the 2014 World Cup qualification. They were in Group F with Azerbaijan, Israel, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and Portugal.
They qualified directly as the winners of the group. They had 22 points at the top of the group with Portugal in 2nd place with 21 points.
Igor Akinfeev is an experienced goalkeeper who has achieved much already in his career, despite being just 28 years old. He plays for CSKA Moscow in Russia. The shot-stopper has been with the national team of Russia since 2004.
He has five Russian Premier League winners’ medals from 2003, 2005, 2006, 2012/2013 and 2013/14 seasons. Akinfeev is expected to lead the side from the back with such experience under his belt.
Sergei Ignashevich is the experienced member of the side with 97 caps under his name. Ignashevich plays as well for CSKA Moscow in Russia. The 34-year-old can play in various positions either as a central defender, right back or a defensive midfielder.
He has scored five goals in his staggering 97 caps for Russia.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov is a leading striker for Russia with 25 goals in his 81 caps for the side to date. He is Russia’s second highest capped player, apart from Sergei Ignashevich in the current team.
The 31-year-old will be expected to score goals for Russia to increase the team’s chances to advance to the knockout stages of the competition. Kerzhakov plays for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg in Russia.
Russia national team coach, Fabio Capello, needs no introduction in world football. The Italian football manager won four Serie A titles with A.C. Milan in his first five seasons as a coach.
Capello could be remembered for leading Milan to the famous victory over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League in the 1993/94 season. He has coached at big clubs around the world including Real Madrid, A.S. Roma and Juventus among the others in his successful career.
Capello guided England to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He has been the coach of Russia since 2012.
17 June – Russia v Korea Republic – 00:00 – Arena Pantanal
22 June – Belgium v Russia – 18:00 – Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho
26 June – Algeria v Russia – 22:00 - Arena da Baixada