Read the Russia Preview: World Cup 2018 to find out all of the details about the host country as well as knowledgable facts to impress your friends.

Russia Preview: World Cup 2018

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev, Vladimir Gabulov, Soslan Dzhanaev, Andrey Lunev

Defenders: Vladimir Granat, Sergei Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov, Ilya Kutepov, Roman Neustadter, Konstantin Rausch, Andrey Semenov, Igor Smolnikov, Mario Fernandes

Midfielders: Yuri Gazinskiy, Alexsandr Golovin, Alan Dzagoev, Alexsandr Erokhin, Yuri Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev , Roman Zobnin, Alexsandr Samedov, Anton Miranchuk, Alexsandr Tashaev, Denis Cheryshev

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba, Aleksey Miranchuk, Fedor Smolov, Fedor Chalov

  • Manager: Stanislav Cherchesov
  • Captain: Igor Akinfeev
  • Best Finish: Group Stage (1994, 2002, 2014)

Likely starting lineup


A nation is abuzz with anticipation, excitement and hopes of something special if the people within it see 11 players put a run together. And that can filter through to every game and the atmosphere at every stadium; when Brazil, Germany, South Korea and France have advanced to the semi-finals in recent editions, it’s been terrific.

Such was the case for South Africa. Their failure to qualify for the knockout stages could not prevent mass support both at home and around the world.

You don’t get that sense with Russia. There’s been a great deal of concern about the suitability of the country as a host nation. Fears of racism, sexism and homophobia have not gone away. This has made it hard to garner with any great certainty what type of state the team is in.

Stanislav Cherchesov is the man tasked with delivering a World Cup to remember for Russia. He took over after a disappointing Euro 2016, in which Russia were moribund in their efforts and finished bottom of their group.

Despite boasting some talented players, Russia don’t appear all too well prepared for the tournament. The manager’s dispute with Igor Denisov during their time together at Lokomotiv Moscow in 2015 will see the player miss out on the tournament. Alexander Kokorin is another player who misses out due to injury.

Cherchesov has tended to deploy a five-man defence underpinned by the experienced Igor Akinfeev, with former Chelsea man Yury Zhirkov expected to provide thrust from left-back. The manager will hope a solid base will allow some smart technicians like Alan Dzagoev and Alexander Golovin to thrive.


Key Man – Alexander Golovin

Dzagoev has long held the creative responsibility in this Russia side, but in Golovin the hosts have another fine playmaker to call upon.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season with CSKA Moscow and has showcased the mindset needed to perform on the big stage. His free-kick against Arsenal in the Europa League quarter-final was a stand-up-in-your-living-room sort of moment.

Golovin will be the fulcrum in this team, most likely as part of a three-man midfield. In a group against teams primed to play on the break, the youngster will be on the ball a lot in the opening three games. If he can find a way to unpick Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay, Russia should have just enough to progress.


Russia’s Group Stage fixtures

Thursday, June 14

Russia vs. Saudi Arabia (opening game), 11am, FOX, Telemundo, Sling Blue and fubo (7-day free trial)

Tuesday, June 19

Russia vs. Egypt, 2pm, FOX, Telemundo, Sling Blue and fubo (7-day free trial)

Monday, June 25

Uruguay vs. Russia, 10am, FOX, Telemundo, Sling Blue and fubo (7-day free trial)


Russia’s path to the final

If Russia wins Group A, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group B which will either be Spain, Morocco, Iran or Portugal. If Russia wins that Round of 16 game, Russia will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against either the winner of Group C (either France, Australia, Peru, Denmark) or the team that finishes second in Group C (Argentina, Iceland, Nigeria or Croatia). If Russia advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that pitted the winner of E1 vs. F2 against the winner of G1 vs. H2.

If Russia finishes second in Group A, The Green Falcons will play the team that finishes first in Group B (either Spain, Morocco, Iran or Portugal). If Russia wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against whoever is victorious between the winner of Group D (either Argentina, Croatia, Nigeria or Iceland) and the team that finishes second in Group C (either France, Australia, Peru or Denmark). If Russia advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that pitted the winner of F1 vs. E2 against the winner of H1 vs. G2.



• Previews for all 32 World Cup teams
• World Cup Bracket (free download)
• World Cup groups
• World Cup TV schedule


Russia World Cup shirt (home)

Russia & adidas have unveiled their 2018 jersey for the World Cup hosts with a classic approach. Drawing inspiration from their 1988 Olympic jersey, this clean kit is a showstopper. Some features of this jersey to know about: It incorporates a classic white and red color scheme that works in the iconic white accents around the shoulders. The two-headed eagle from the team badge is placed inside the collar, with the wording “Вместе К Победе” translating to “Victory-bound as one.” A touch of blue is present in the form of a flag detail on the inside collar as well.

See more details about Russia World Cup shirt


Russia World Cup shirt (away)

As Russia hosts the FIFA World Cup for the first time, this men’s soccer jersey reflects the confidence of a flourishing, ambitious nation. A version of the away jersey the Russia national team wears, it has a slightly looser cut and sweat-wicking fabric for fan comfort. A standout graphic inspired by the country’s thriving street culture and complex urban structures dominates the front panel and sleeves. It’s finished with a woven team badge.

See more details about Russia World Cup shirt


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