Russia head to this summer’s European Championship looking to build off their superb performance on home soil in the 2018 World Cup.
Russia head to this summer’s European Championship looking to build off their superb performance on home soil in the 2018 World Cup.

In that respect, the delay to Euro 2020 hasn’t been good for Russia. Momentum ground to a halt as memories of that heroic last 16 performance against Spain faded. Ageing regulars like 37-year-old Yuri Zhirkov are now even closer to the glue factory, while Russia’s young talents have yet to make a serious impression. Meanwhile, Zenit Saint Petersburg striker Artem Dzyuba was temporarily omitted last autumn after a video of the nation’s 2018 darling indulging in some online onanism went viral on social media.

Russian fans now view their national team as a bunch of average players. Not without good reason, either, considering their 5-0 thrashing by Serbia in their final game of 2020 (six days after a strong team drew a friendly in Moldova). In March, successive World Cup qualifier wins were followed by defeat to Slovakia

Russia Euro 2020 - Schedule Fixtures

The Russia Euro 2020 fixtures begin with a clash against Group B favourites Belgium on June 12 in Saint Petersburg.

Russia Euro 2020 schedule fixtures

June 12: Belgium, 8pm

June 16: Finland, 2pm

June 21: Denmark, 8pm

Russia came second in qualifying, winning eight matches but losing twice against the Belgians to finish behind them but ahead of Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino.

Stanislav Cherchesov’s side will be hoping for an improved showing when they face Belgium once again in their opening game on home turf on June 12.

They then face Finland on June 16, again in Saint Petersburg, before a clash with Denmark in Copenhagen on June 21.

If the Russians finish top of Group B they will set up a Last-16 meeting with the third-placed team from Group A, D, E or F.

Should they come second, a battle with the second-placed team from Group A awaits: one of Italy, Switzerland, Turkey or Wales.

Euro 2020 Group B preview: Belgium, Russia, Finland, Denmark - fixtures

Euro 2020 fixtures: vs. Belgium in St. Petersburg, June 12; vs. Finland in St. Petersburg, June 16; vs. Denmark in Copenhagen, June 21

Qualifying: Group I runner-up

Euro 2016 result: Group stage

Best result: Champion (1960, as USSR)

FIFA ranking: 38th

Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov (Russia)


Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin, Matvei Safonov, Anton Shunin

Defenders: Georgi Dzhikiya, Igor Diveev, Yuri Zhirkov, Vyacheslav Karavaev, Fedor Kudryashov, Andrei Semenov, Mario Fernandes

Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov, Rifat Zhemaletdinov, Maksim Mukhin, Aleksandr Golovin, Daniil Fomin, Roman Zobnin, Alexei Ionov, Daler Kuzyayev, Andrei Mostovoy, Magomed Ozdoev, Denis Makarov, Aleksei Miranchuk, Denis Cheryshev

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba, Anton Zabolotny, Aleksandr Sobolev

Key player: Alexander Golovin — The Monaco midfielder was a breakout star for Russia at the 2018 World Cup and has become the main creative spark in the national team's midfield.

Russia Euro 2020 - The Full 26 Man Squad List

The Russia Euro 2020 squad for this summer has been released, with 29 players in the initial team. This will have to be whittled down to 26 players by UEFA's June 1, 2021 deadline for the final squads.

Full Squad List

Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin (Rubin), Matvei Safonov (Krasnodar), Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moskva)

Defenders: Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moskva), Igor Diveev (CSKA Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Zenit), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor), Andrei Semenov (Akhmat), Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moskva)

Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Maksim Mukhin (CSKA Moskva), Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco), Daniil Fomin (Dinamo Moskva), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moskva), Alexei Ionov (Krasnodar), Daler Kuzyayev (Zenit), Andrei Mostovoy (Zenit), Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit), Denis Makarov (Rubin), Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta), Denis Cheryshev (Valencia)

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit), Anton Zabolotny (CSKA Moskva), Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak Moskva)

Russia Euro 2020 Squad and Their Club

  • GK: Andrey Lunyov (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
  • GK: Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow)
  • GK: Yury Dyupin (Rubin Kazan)
  • GK: Matvei Safonov (Krasnodar),
  • DF: Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
  • DF: Fyodor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor)
  • DF: Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moscow)
  • DF: Igor Diveev (CSKA Moscow)
  • DF: Roman Yevgenyev (Dinamo Moscow)
  • DF: Vyacheslav Karavayev (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
  • DF: Ilya Samoshnikov (Rubin Kazan)
  • DF: Andrei Semenov (Akhmat)
  • MF: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv Moscow)
  • MF: Arsen Zakharyan (Dinamo Moscow)
  • MF: Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moscow)
  • MF: Denis Makarov (Rubin)
  • MF: Denis Cheryshev (Valencia)
  • MF: Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco)
  • MF: Aleksei Ionov (Krasnodar)
  • MF: Daler Kuzyayev (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
  • MF: Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta)
  • MF: Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit)
  • MF: Andrei Mostovoy (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
  • MF: Daniil Fomin (Dynamo Moscow)
  • MF: Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moscow)
  • MF: Maksim Mukhin (Lokomotiv Moscow)
  • FW: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
  • FW: Anton Zabolotny (Sochi)
  • FW: Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak Moscow)

Russia Euro 2020 - Best Players

Goalkeeper: Anton Shunin

Due to Igor Akinfeev holding down the No.1 jersey for 111 caps across 14 years, Russia enter these Euros with a shortage of goalkeepers at international level. Right now, Anton Shunin looks like their best option.

The 34-year-old started all three of the recent World Cup qualifiers against Malta, Slovenia and Slovakia to take his international caps to double digits.

Shunin has spent his entire career with Dynamo Moscow and although major honours have eluded him, the veteran stopper does have Champions League and Europa League experience under his belt, while keeping over 100 clean sheets for the club.

This season, Shunin (who is blessed with brilliant reflexes, compensating for his lack of ability with the ball at his feet) has been one of the busier goalkeepers in the Russian Premier League as Dynamo chased a Champions League spot.

Defender: Mario Fernandes

Although not the most glamorous of players, especially when considering some of the attacking full-backs that will be on show this summer, Mario Fernandes is as steady as they come at right-back for CSKA Moscow and Russia.

The Brazilian-born defender made more interceptions (51) than any other CSKA player during the season 2020/21, using his reading of the game to step in and steal the ball at the perfect moment. Fernandes’ aggressiveness in the tackle also makes him an extremely undesirable opponent in one-on-one battles with wingers.

Fernandes, who recently signed a new deal with CSKA, ranked second among Russian players for ball recoveries (34) and aerial duels won (21) at the 2018 World Cup, while he was third for tackles (11), interceptions (eight) and clearances (19). Expect him to play the same level of importance at the Euros.

Midfielder: Aleksandr Golovin

Aleksandr Golovin notched a goal and two assists at the 2018 World Cup, becoming one of the stars of the show for the hosts. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength.

The 24-year-old completed a move to Monaco off the back of that 2018 showing for an undisclosed fee, one that the French club confirmed was a record transfer. Though he was a little slow starting off, Golovin has become one of Monaco’s most important players, particularly this season, where he’s registered five goals and nine assists in 20 Ligue 1 appearances, keeping Les Monegasques firmly in the title race right down to the final day

A demon dribbler and precision passer, Golovin glides through the midfield, picking up pockets of space to take the ball and wreak havoc on the opposition defence. In a Russian side relatively bereft of attacking thrust and creativity, aside from Valencia’s Denis Cheryshev and Aleksi Miranchuk of Atalanta, getting Golovin on the ball in dangerous areas is going to define their chances this summer.

Forward: Artem Dzyuba

With goals against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Spain, Artem Dzyuba wrote his name into Russian football folklore at the 2018 World Cup and has remained an extremely important player for them since, scoring another 13 goals across Nations League, European Championship qualifying and World Cup qualifying combined. The audible roar from the Russian crowd every time Dzyuba gets the ball is palpable.

Dzyuba has also remained extremely prolific at club level with Zenit St Petersburg and although he’s not the most mobile, his ability to hold up possession, bring others into play and finishing chances in and around the box with unerring accuracy will make him a handful for any opposing centre-back. Standing at 6ft 6in tall, the 32-year-old is also a monster in the air, so getting crosses into the box could be a very effective ploy for Russia, who will also look to make the most of set-pieces.

Who is Russia Euro 2020 Manager?

Stanislav Cherchesov, Russia Euro 2020 squad

(Image credit: PA)

Stanislav Cherchesov

Cherchesov became manager of Russia in the summer of 2016, and will lead them again for Euro 2020. The 57-year-old became the first-ever Russian manager, since the collapse of the USSR, to take Russia to the knockout stages of a tournament during the 2018 World Cup - Dutchman Guus Hiddink achieved this feat at Euro 2008. Beating Spain in the Round of 16, Russia reached the quarter-finals.

Cherchesov has managed across Russia's Premier League, including with Spartak Moscow and Dynamo Moscow, though didn't enjoy success. However, during his spell with Legia Warsaw in the 2015/16 season, he won the Polish league and Polish Cup.

Russia's past Euros record

Russia Euro 2008 (Image credit: PA)

As Soviet Union, the state won the inaugural competition in 1960, before finishing as runners-up in two of the next three tournaments. They didn't qualify for the Euros between 1972 and 1988, where they once again finished as runners-up in the final - their last tournament as Soviet Union.

The nation then entered Euro 92 as the Commenwealth of Independent States, where they were unable to advance from the group stages. Euro 96 welcomed the nation of Russia, as we know it, for the first time, where they once again couldn't progress from the group stages.

Russia suffered the same fate at Euro 2004, 2012 and 2016, while they didn't even qualify for Euro 2000. However, their best finish as Russia came in 2008, when Guus Hiddink led the nation to the semi-finals. Russia lost to eventual winners Spain 3-0.

Russia Euro 2020 - The Tactics

Though Cherchesov has experimented with a back-five, 4-2-3-1 has been his formation of choice over the past year. Dzyuba will lead the line, but his hold-up play will be vital in getting the likes of Golovin and Miranchuk involved, with the midfield pair expected to both make supporting runs beyond their striker and provide the final pass for him to add to his considerable goal tally.

Cheryshev will provide a goal threat from the flanks, just as he did three years ago at the World Cup, while Fernandes and ex-Chelsea veteran Yuri Zhirkov should complete a functional but solid Russian backline that will be out to frustrate the opposition.

As mentioned, set pieces will be extremely important to Cherchesov’s side, while the technical ability of his midfielders should give them plenty of possession, even against some of the heavyweights in this summer’s tournament.

Russia Euro 2020 odds

Alongside the likes of Poland and Austria, Russia are priced at 66/1 with Sky Bet to win the Euros and can be firmly categorised as a dark horse and potentially troublesome, though nowhere near the main contenders. With Belgium and Denmark accompanying them in Group B, it’s little surprise to see odds as long as 9/2 being offered to finish top.

However, Russia are 2/5 on to qualify from Group B, perhaps doing so as one of the four best third-place teams, while Dzyuba represents their best chance of producing a Golden Boot winner at 33/1, alongside the likes of Marcus Rashford, Kai Havertz and Diogo Jota.

Predictions for Russia

Group B

1st: Belgium

2nd: Denmark

3rd: Russia

4th: Russia

We ranks them as tournament minnows and predicts a group stage exit.

Chance for Winningg

Drawn alongside tournament favourites Belgium, Finland and Denmark, Russia will be hoping to break their group stage jinx. The team can take inspiration from their strong showing in the 2018 World Cup. A lot will depend on star players Golovkin, Cheryshev, Dzuyba to drive this Russian team forward.

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