Preview; Russia Euro 2012

Russia
Fifa Ranking:
 11
Manager:
 Dick Advocaat (Since July 2010, resigning after Euro 2012)
Captain:
Andrei Arshavin – Arsenal man, currently on loan at FC Zenit. Hopes he discovers his form at Poland and Ukraine. Remember the form he had in 2008 Euro’s? Yeees.
Star Players:
Andrei Arshavin, Alan Dzagoev, Roman Pavlyuchenko
Fact; 
In qualifying, they played 10 matches but conceded only four.
Russia provisional squad: Igor Akinfeev, Vyacheslav Malafeev (Zenit St Petersburg), Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moscow); Aleksandr Anyukov (Zenit St Petersburg), Aleksei Berezutski, Vasili Berezutski, Sergei Ignashevich, Vladimir Granat (Dinamo Moscow), Yuri Zhirkov (Anzhi Makhachkala), Dmitri Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Roman Sharonov (Rubin Kazan), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow); Igor Denisov (Zenit St Petersburg), Konstantin Zyryanov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (Zenit St Petersburg), Denis Glushakov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Magomed Ozdoev (Lokomotiv Moscow), Igor Semshov (Dinamo Moscow), Marat Izmailov (Sporting Lisbon), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow); Andrey Arshavin (Zenit St Petersburg), Aleksandr Kerzhakov (Zenit St Petersburg), Artem Dzyuba (Spartak Moscow), Aleksandr Kokorin (Dinamo Moscow), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Lokomotiv Moscow), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Fulham
Likely Formation
Number one choice keeper, Igor Akinfeev is out injured so expect Vyacheslav Malafeev who though regarded experienced should be occasionally erratic. The defense sure must stand up for the Zenit man here.
Funnily- Did you notice the ’feev’s’ in goal, hope it doesn’t translate to fever #jokes
No so funny though; Vyacheslav Malafeev’s wife died in a car crash on 17th march 2011 aged 37.
Nice to know is that Advocaat has brought back Roman Sharonov from the cold, and right now at 35, will be exciting to see how that turns out at the back.
Advocaat, who will be returning to take charge of PSVafter the tournament, has been bold elsewhere in his selection after also recalling Izmailov.
The Sporting Lisbon midfielder is named for the first time since 2006, while there are places for uncapped duo Vladimir Granat and Magomed Ozdoev.
Depending on how you group the players, Russia’s formation is either a 4-3-3, or a 4-3-2-1 “Christmas Tree.” Advocaat will play a lead striker, Arshavin and Dzagoev behind him and three more midfielders in a line supported by a four man line behind them. They should take advantage of their skill and fitness by ramping up the tempo on teams and letting the two attacking midfielders create. With both skill and size, they can also convert set pieces.
The Coach has the luxury of choosing from three quality plays upfront. Pavlyuchenko, Pogrebnyak and Kerzhakov are all fighting for a spot in the starting eleven. Pavlyuchenko is a clinical striker with an eye for goal (he’s proved that at Tottenham) whilst Kerzhakov and Pogrebnyak have been in fantastic form for their clubs. Kerzhakov has scored 18 goals in the league for Zenit whilst Pogrebnyak has been in pretty good since joining Fulham in the January transfer window. Some of you are wondering who he is? (He’s scored 6 times in 12 matches since January alone)
Thoughts
Russia has a talented squad and an experienced manager for this campaign. This combination is central to success and Russia should be regarded as potential dark horses at Euro 2012. Key players such as Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko and Pogrebnyak are rediscovering their form following January transfer moves. Alan Dzagoev is a rising star and he can make his mark at Euro 2012. Russia is a defensively strong team and have dangerous attacking options. They should top Group A but there is always a worry of complacency with the Russian national side, especially as the manager will resign after the tournament as they will no longer have to impress him, but another man who’ll take the helm after the Euro’s.
Pencil them into the quarterfinals, where they will be dispatched by Germany or Holland.
Apart from their on the pitch performance, I’ve never seem to note the Russia babes, but the Men, Girls; They Rock.
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DID YOU KNOW?
At Euro 2004, Russia only managed to win one match and ended bottom of group A. This time again they are in Group A, Let’s see how it goes. At that time too, they had Greece in the same group.  Funnily though, the only match Greece lost in this tournament was against Russia who were by then already eliminated.

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