Coach: Leonid Slutsky
Colours: Burgundy shirts, burgundy shorts, burgundy socks
v England (11 June, Marseille)
v Slovakia (15 June, Lille)
v Wales (20 June, Toulouse)
Winners (1960 [USSR])
Runners-up (1964 [USSR], 1972 [USSR], 1988 [USSR])
Semi-finals (1968 [USSR], 2008)
The Russian national football team holds a stable record of qualification to the Euros, having reached the group stage of the competition on five separation occasions since the fall of the Soviet Union. In these past installments of the European Championship, however, Russia has recorded few successes past qualification. The team advanced past the group just once in Euro 2008, when forwards Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin led the Russians to the last four of the tournament.
Russian football post-1992 has done little to match the successes of its predecessor in the era prior to the Soviet Union’s collapse. An exceptionally formidable national side, the Soviets made four European Championship final appearances, of which they emerged as victors once in 1960, against runners-up France in Les Bleus‘ home turf. Coach Leonid Slutsky will hope to replicate this success and overcome recent setbacks as the team travels again to France for Euro 2016.
How They Got There
The Russians qualified to the European Championship after a successful qualifying campaign that saw them attain 20 out of a possible 30 points. In a group with Austria, Sweden, Montenegro, Liechtenstein, and Moldova, Russia was expected to qualify with relative ease, and began their campaign on a high with a 4-0 victory over minnows Liechtenstein.
The Russians were faced with a mixed string of results between the months of October 2014 and June 2015, during which the team recorded two losses, two draws, and a single victory. These mediocre results prompted the Russian Football Union to sack manager Fabio Capello in favor of Leonid Slutsky. Under Slutsky’s reign, the team marked a strong finish to their qualifying campaign, finishing second to group winners Austria and ahead of third-placed Sweden.
v Liechtenstein 4-0 (h), 7-0 (a)
v Sweden 1-0 (h), 1-1 (a)
v Moldova 1-1 (h), 2-1 (a)
v Austria 0-1 (h), 0-1 (a)
v Montenegro 2-0 (h), 3-0 (a)
Russia enter the Euros with an aged yet experienced squad. ‘Keeper Igor Akinfeev, with 86 international caps to his name and the title of Russia’s record clean sheet holder, will look to provide much-needed stability to the spine of the team. 34-year-old captain Roman Shirokov will look achieve a similar feat from the center of the pitch.
Russia’s top-scorer in qualifying with eight goals, Artem Dzuyba, will hope to continue his goalscoring form; the poacher will lead a rapid front line that will look to outrun their opposition in the group stage and beyond. Younger prospect Aleksandr Kokorin will also be vital to the success of the Russians’ attack in France.
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow), Yuri Lodygin (Zenit St Petersburg).
Defenders: Alexei Berezutski (CSKA Moscow), Vasili Berezutski (CSKA Moscow), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Dmitri Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Roman Neustadter (Schalke 04), Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moscow), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit)
Midfielders: Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Alexander Golovin (CSKA Moscow), Oleg Ivanov (Terek Grozny), Pavel Mamaev (Krasnodar), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (CSKA Moscow)
Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Zenit St Petersburg), Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar)