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Kokorin to lead Russia for Argentina, Spain tests

Moscow (AFP) – Alexander Kokorin and Fedor Smolov will spearhead Russia’s attack in the November friendlies against Argentina and Spain, as coach Stanislav Cherchesov unveiled his 27-man squad on Monday.

The 2018 World Cup hosts will take on Argentina at Moscow’s renovated Luzhniki Stadium on November 11, before facing Spain in Saint Petersburg three days later.

“We will play two matches against the world’s top teams within three days,” Cherchesov said. “We desperately needed to experience this kind of test against teams that are amongst the best in world football.”

Cherchesov, who took over after Russia’s group-stage exit at Euro 2016, selected five players from reigning champions Spartak Moscow and three from league leaders Lokomotiv.

Zenit St Petersburg forward Kokorin is the leading scorer in Russia with eight goals this season, while Krasnodar striker Fedor Smolov finished top of the goal charts in each of the past two campaigns.

Fenerbahce defender Roman Neustadter and Cologne’s Konstantin Rausch are also included, while Akhmat Grozny’s Anton Shvets, who was called up by Cherchesov for a training camp in August, could make his international debut.

Lokomotiv midfielder Vladislav Ignatiev, who made his only two appearances for Russia as a substitute in 2015, was picked alongside club team-mates and twin brothers Alexei and Anton Miranchuk.


Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Arsenal Tula), Andrei Lunev (Zenit St Petersburg)

Defenders: Viktor Vasin, Mario Fernandez (both CSKA Moscow), Fedor Kudryashov (Rubin Kazan), Georgy Dzhikiya, Ilya Kutepov (both Spartak Moscow), Roman Neustadter (Fenerbahce/TUR), Konstantin Rausch (Cologne/GER), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg)

Midfielders: Alexander Golovin, Alan Dzagoev (both CSKA Moscow), Denis Glushakov, Roman Zobnin, Dmitry Kombarov (all Spartak Moscow), Alexander Erokhin, Yury Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyayev (all Zenit St Petersburg), Vladislav Ignatiev, Alexei Miranchuk, Anton Miranchuk (all Lokomotiv Moscow), Anton Shvets (Akhmat Grozny)

Forwards: Anton Zabolotny (Tosno), Alexander Kokorin, Dmitry Poloz (both Zenit St Petersburg), Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar)

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