MOSCOW, August 22 (R-Sport) – Russian football coach Fabio Capello has drafted two newcomers into a provisional Russia squad for crucial World Cup qualifiers next month against Luxembourg and Israel.
The naming of Dynamo Moscow defender Artur Yusupov and FC Krasnodar goalkeeper Alexander Filtsov will not count as official call-ups for the players unless they survive a cull of the 34-man squad to around 24 for the two home games, to be played on September 6 and 10 respectively.
Yusupov and Filtsov, both 23, have represented their country at the under-21 level but have never made the step up to the senior level.
Otherwise, Capello sticks with the core of players that lost 1-0 to Northern Ireland in Belfast earlier this month including striker Artem Dzyuba. That defeat cranks up the pressure on Russia to deliver in the September matches if it is to make the most of its game in hand over Group F leader Portugal.
Russia sits second, two points behind the Portuguese.
With their home Luzhniki Stadium closed to undergo refurbishments for the 2018 World Cup, the national team will first play Luxembourg in Kazan before hosting Israel in St. Petersburg.