Three years ago, all the players of the Russian national team were real heroes for us. Well, almost everything. One was still heavily criticized for a decisive miss in the quarterfinals with Croatia. The fans thanked “our guys” for their brilliant performance at the home World Cup 2018. Journalists poured beautiful adjectives into the texts about the national team, like salt into a soup that had previously seemed tasteless.
Now the Russian national team will try to return that euphoria with a successful performance at Euro 2020. The roster is still a large group of players from the 2018 World Cup, but there are also many fresh faces. In three years, our national team has changed by half! Someone ended his career, and Stanislav Cherchesov refused some of the players himself. We tell you which of the participants of the World Championship did not reach the Euro.
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The CSKA goalkeeper finished his career in the Russian national team beautifully. At the 2018 World Cup, Akinfeev played in all five matches, in which he conceded seven goals, became the hero of the penalty shootout with Spain. Igor’s leg was sung in verse and almost cast in bronze. The soldier stopped at 111 matches for the national team. Cherchesov tried to get Akinfeev back before Euro 2020, but an experienced goalkeeper knows – you need to leave on time. And health is more expensive than fame.
Another goalkeeper whom Cherchesov highly appreciated. Even if the legionnaire from Brugge did not play at the World Championship. The coach was presented with claims for Gabulov’s calls, but the goalkeeper had a great influence on the atmosphere in the team, and in his craft he was far from the worst. Vladimir, like Akinfeev, hung up his gloves after the 2018 World Cup. In his career, 10 caps for the Russian national team, including the victorious one with England (2: 1) in the qualifying round of Euro 2008.
At the 2018 World Cup, Lunev and Gabulov rode understudies of Akinfeev. At that time, the Zenit goalkeeper had only three matches for the national team. Cherchesov did not give the reserve goalkeepers a chance even in the match with Uruguay, when our team had already left the group. After the World Cup, Andrei got the opportunity to become the “number one”, but did not use it. Missed seven goals in four games. Lunev was also disturbed by the damage. Now he was in the extended squad ahead of Euro 2020, but was unhooked after training in Austria.
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A few months before the 2018 World Cup, Ignashevich, obviously, was going to watch the tournament, while on vacation on some difficult-to-speak islands in the status of a former football player. However, when problems with central defenders in the national team reached a critical point, Sergei responded to Cherchesov’s request and agreed to help. And he definitely didn’t regret it. The 38-year-old soldier played all matches from whistle to whistle, cementing the team’s defense. After that he became a coach, stopping at 127 games for Russia.
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Kutepov’s candidacy as the main central defender of the national team raised questions before the World Cup. However, then any player of this role, except for Ignashevich, was not trusted. By the way, now history is repeating itself: only Georgy Dzhikia seems to be a fairly reliable figure. But Kutepov, having played all five matches of the 2018 World Cup, paired with an experienced army player, did not fail. Then Ilya only once played for the national team. Due to injuries and a long recovery, he lost his place at the base even at Spartak.
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Garnet also claimed a place in the starting lineup of the Russian national team. He came out from the first minutes in the March 2018 sparring. The return of Ignashevich turned Rubin’s player into a substitute; at the World Championship he played only with Spain. At the end of the tournament, Vladimir’s great career actually ended. He lost a year and a half due to injuries, and this season he played for Olimp-Dolgoprudny in the FNL. Garnet has 13 appearances and one goal for the national team.
Photo: RIA Novosti
If in 2017 Mario Fernandez had not been naturalized for the Russian national team, Smolnikov would have been the main right-back of the national team at the World Cup. As a result, the Zenit player played only 36 minutes with Uruguay, earning a removal for two yellow cards. Since then, Igor has taken part in only two matches of the national team. Before Euro 2020, Cherchesov included him only in the spare list. The season in Krasnodar for the 32-year-old defender turned out to be ambiguous.
Gazinsky is the author of Russia’s first goal at the 2018 World Cup. Yuri has only one goal for the national team, but what a goal! His precise shot already in the 12th minute of the match with Saudi Arabia relieved the tension from the players’ shoulders, and the team flourished. True, after the group stage, Gazinsky lost his place at the base: he remained in reserve with Spain, with Croatia he came on as a substitute. In the past two years, he played less for the national team, but now he has remained out of the application. There is high competition in his position, and the season at Krasnodar is disappointing.
The midfielder of CSKA was supposed to become one of the key figures of the Russian national team at the 2018 World Cup, but an injury prevented. Already in the first half of the meeting with Saudi Arabia, Dzagoev left the field. It seemed that he was eliminated before the end of the tournament, but by the quarterfinals with Croatia, Alan recovered and played another 20 minutes. This is the last performance of the army player for the national team. Apparently, his statistics (59 matches, 9 goals and 9 assists) will not change. Due to damage, Dzagoev cannot consistently spend the whole season.
The Miranchuk brothers were also included in the Russian national team at the 2018 World Cup, but they were in the wings. Alexey took part only in the game with Uruguay, and Anton did not enter the field at all. Not to say that their status in the Cherchesov team has changed dramatically over the past three years. Although Anton at some point even got a foothold in the starting lineup. However, in the second half of this season, Miranchuk lost his place at the base of Lokomotiv after injury and Marko Nikolic’s transition to a diamond in midfield, so the national team is not needed for Euro 2020.
Photo: RIA Novosti
The flank midfielder also completed his appearances for the Russian national team after the World Cup. At that tournament, Samedov came out from the first minutes in all five matches.
He coped with Cherchesov’s tasks, even if he did not show himself with effective actions. In total, Alexander has seven goals and 16 assists in 53 matches for the national team during his career. In 2019, Samedov, in fact, retired from football. True, in the summer of 2020 he returned for six months to play three matches for Znamya from Noginsk in the PFL.
Cherchesov took Erokhin to the Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup, but Zenit’s midfielder was not included in the Euro 2020 line-up. Although, three years ago, Alexander did not play much at the home tournament. He spent the entire group stage in reserve, and came out as a substitute with Spain and Croatia. He did not take effective actions. This season, Erokhin was not a stable player in the Zenit base, nevertheless he scored eight goals and gave three assists. Cherchesov, apparently, was embarrassed by the lack of practice.
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The same blow by the Panenka broke Smolov’s career in the national team. However, Fedor did not have goals or assists for the entire 2018 World Cup. After that, the striker played twice for Russia, scored a double at the gates of San Marino. In the spring, it seemed that Smolov would deserve a return to the national team, as he scored eight goals for Lokomotiv in the second part of the season. But Cherchesov decided to bet on powerful forwards. Maybe it was the fact that Fedor, like Guilherme, failed the key match of the end of the championship with Zenit.