10 June 2014, 18:31

Russia in the World Cup: A Profile

By Tawab Malekzad

WAHSINGTON (VR) — Historically, the Russian team has fared well at the FIFA World Cup, but it has yet to reach a final. The Soviet Union, predecessor of the Russian team, reached the quarter finals three times: first, in Sweden’s 1958 World Cup; then in Chile in 1962; and, finally, in Mexico in 1970. But they played best at the 1966 World Cup in England, where the USSR topped its group and eventually reached the semifinals. The team was defeated by West Germany first, and then by Portugal in the play-offs for third position.

Russia also played in the World Cup in the USA in 1994 and Seoul, South Korea in 2002. The country will host the next World Cup in 2018.

Russia in Brazil 2014

Russia starts off this year’s Cup placed in group H with Algeria, Belgium, and South Korea. Russia, Belgium, and South Korea have all reached fourth place in previous tournaments, while Algeria has not emerged from the group stage.

Russia will be playing their first game against South Korea on Tuesday, June 17. The last time Russia played against South Korea was in November of 2013 when Russia defeated Korea 2-0.

Russia will then play Belgium on Sunday June 22. The last time it played the country in 2010 it lost 0-2. Russia plays its final group stage game against Algeria on Thursday June 26.

The Coach

Fabio Capello started coaching the Russian national team in 2012. He previously coached Milan, Real Madrid, Roma, Juventus and England’s national team. Capello is known to be one of the highest paid and the oldest coaches in the World Cup. According to a report by FIFA, Capello has committed to coach the Russian team until 2018 when Russia will host the World Cup.

During this year’s qualifying games Capello helped the Russian team to finish at the top of their group ahead of Portugal.

Besides his coaching experience Capello is known to be a disciplinarian. According to Sports Express, a Russian sports magazine, Capello banned his team from using Twitter during the World Cup. "I don't like it when people are constantly scribbling and publishing something on Twitter. So Twitter is completely banned. But text messages are still allowed," Capello said.

This is not the first time that Capello has banned his team from using Twitter during games. He did the same thing with the English team in South Africa 2010.

According to a Russian team fan, “Capello is one of the best coaches and his coaching experience and discipline will make Russia shine during the World Cup.”

The Team

The Russian team is the only team in this year’s World Cup in which all of its players come from domestic soccer teams. The biggest blowback to the team at the brink of the World Cup is that they will have to play without their captain Roman Shirokov in the field. Shirokov is suffering from a back injury and is currently in Finland undergoing surgery. He will be replaced by midfielder Pavel Mogilevets.

Although the team is missing its captain, it is playing well. On Friday, during an international friendly, game Russia beat Morocco 2-0. Vasily Berezutskiy scored in the 29th minute and Yury Zhirkov scored his first international goal at the 58th minute.

There are two other key players: Igor Akinfeev (goalkeeper), and Alan Dzagoev (midfielder).

The 23-man squad arrived in Brazil last Sunday.

Russia, World Cup, South Korea, Soviet Union, soccer, England, Milan, Belgium, Tawab Malekzad, Real Madrid , Algeria, group H , Fabio Capello , Roman Shirokov , Pavel Mogilevets, Yury Zhirkov , Vasily Berezutskiy , Igor Akinfeev , Alan Dzagoev
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