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Russian Captain Roman Shirokov Ruled Out of World Cup

Russia will be without its captain in Brazil for the World Cup as Roman Shirokov was ruled out of the tournament Friday with a lingering back injury. The midfielder who stars at Zenit St. Petersburg was absent for all three pre-World Cup friendlies Russia played and Manager Fabio Capello has now confirmed his absence for the competition.

Russian Manager Fabio Capello told the media following Russia’s 2-0 victory over Morocco in a friendly that Shirokov would be out.

“Shirokov plays a big role in the team but now others have the opportunity to show what they are capable of doing..I am one of those people who believes that the glass is always half full.

“Shirokov will fly to Finland on Monday for an operation. We decided this would be the best case scenario this morning.”

The 32 year-old  midfielder has been injured since a domestic league match in late April and has been unable to participate in full training sessions. His replacement, 21-year-old is Pavel Mogilevets who has been in camp despite not being named to the 23 man final World Cup squad. Mogilevets will now take his place on the squad traveling to Brazil.

“I am sure about the footballers that I have called-up, Over the course of these three friendlies, step by step, we are becoming sharper and the players are getting a better understanding amongst themselves.

“We will travel to Brazil in good spirits.”

Shirokov has been a lynchpin in the Russian squad in the last several years and played a key role in qualification for 2014 World Cup.

Capello’s side have been drawn in Group H along with Algeria, Belgium and South Korea. Capello managed England in the last World Cup and guided the Three Lions out of the Group Stage to the second round.  The Italian resigned from England in 2012 due to tensions about the stripping of John Terry’s captaincy.

Russia opens the World Cup on July 17th against South Korea. 

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