Fyodor Smolov (Getty Images)
Moscow – Injury-hit Russia named their World Cup 23 on Sunday with their hopes of performing respectably as hosts riding on attacking duo Fyodor Smolov and Artem Dzyuba.
Coach Stanislav Cherchesov has lost Spartak full-back Georgi Dzhikiya, CSKA defender Viktor Vasin and Zenit St Petersburg striker Alexander Kokorin to knee ligament injuries, while Spartak Moscow goalkeeper Alexander Selikhov has ruptured his Achilles tendon.
Krasnodar forward Smolov, the Russian league’s top scorer in 2016-17, who finished second in the league scorers’ chart this year, will spearhead Russia’s attack alongside with Dzyuba, who was loaned from Zenit St Petersburg to Arsenal Tula at the start of January.
One player who seems to have recovered from injuries at the right time is midfielder Denis Cheryshev, who plays for Villarreal in the Spanish Liga. He came as a substitute as Russia lost, 1-0, to Austria in a friendly last Wednesday, and has been included in the 23.
Cherchesov cut Rubin Kazan goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanaev, former German youth internationals Roman Neustadter and Konstantin Rausch, Dynamo Moscow midfielder Alexander Tashaev and CSKA Moscow striker Fyodor Chalov.
Russia have one more warm-up game, against Turkey in Moscow at the CSKA Arena in Moscow on Tuesday.
They kick off the World Cup against Saudi Arabia in Group A at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14 and also face Egypt in St Petersburg on June 19 and Uruguay in Volgograd on June 25.
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Brugge/BEL), Andrey Lunev (Zenit St Petersburg)
Defenders: Vladimir Granat, Fyodor Kudryashov (all Rubin Kazan), Ilya Kutepov (Spartak Moscow), Andrey Semyonov (Akhmat Grozny), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg), Mario Fernandes, Sergei Ignashevich (both CSKA Moscow)
Midfielders: Yury Gazinsky (Krasnodar), Alan Dzagoev, Alexander Golovin (both CSKA Moscow), Alexander Erokhin, Yury Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev (all Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Zobnin, Alexander Samedov (both Spartak Moscow), Anton Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal/ESP)
Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Arsenal Tula), Alexei Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar)