EURO star Dzagoev to aid Russia's U21 cause

Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Kokorin, who both played at UEFA EURO 2012, are standout names in Russia's finals squad though the pair are set to miss the Group B opener.

Alan Dzagoev celebrates scoring against UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts Poland
Alan Dzagoev celebrates scoring against UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts Poland ©Getty Images

Alan Dzagoev, joint top scorer at UEFA EURO 2012, and Aleksandr Kokorin have been selected by Russia for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in Israel, despite being unavailable for the first game on 6 June.

PFC CSKA Moskva midfielder Dzagoev – one of six players to score a tournament-leading three goals 12 months ago in Poland and Ukraine – FC Dinamo Moskva striker Kokorin and FC Anji Makhachkala's Oleg Shatov are in the senior squad preparing to play Portugal in a key FIFA World Cup qualifier on 7 June.

However, the trio will link up with the rest of their U21 team-mates after the match in Lisbon, with the aim of being ready for Russia's second Group B fixture against the Netherlands on 9 June. Nikolai Pisarev's squad then face Germany three days later.

Russian prospects of upsetting holders Spain in their initial encounter have been further undermined by the late call-up of another Dinamo attacker, Fedor Smolov, to the senior fold. Smolov top-scored for his country in qualifying with seven goals, yet will be a fourth absentee for Pisarev to handle against the Spanish in Jerusalem a week on Thursday.

Dzagoev struck twice in a 4-1 victory against the Czech Republic on the first day of last year's UEFA European Championship, following this up with a goal during a 1-1 draw with Poland. Kokorin's EURO involvement amounted to a seven-minute cameo in Russia's opening game.

Russia will travel to Israel on Wednesday and hold a number of training sessions in Bat Yam leading up to their 6 June curtain-raiser.

Russia squad
Goalkeepers: Nikolai Zabolotni (FC Rostov*), Stanislav Kritsuk (SC Braga), Aleksandr Filtsov (FC Krasnodar).

Defenders: Maksin Belyaev (FC Rostov**), Taras Burlak (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Ivan Knyazev (FC Torpedo Moskva), Ibragim Tsallagov (PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara), Nikita Chicherin (FC Dinamo Moskva), Georgi Schennikov (PFC CSKA Moskva).

Midfielders: Shota Bibilov (FC Volga Nizhny Novgorod), Sergei Bryzgalov (FC Spartak Moskva), Maksim Grigoryev (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Roman Emelyanov (FC Illychivets Mariupil***), Aleksandr Zotov (FC Tom Tomsk*), Alan Dzagoev (PFC CSKA Moskva), Yuri Kirillov (FC Dinamo Moskva), Sergei Petrov (FC Krasnodar), Denis Cheryshev (Real Madrid CF), Oleg Shatov (FC Anji Makhachkala).

Forwards: Maksim Kanunnikov (FC Amkar Perm), Aleksandr Kokorin (FC Dinamo Moskva), Fedor Smolov (FC Anji Makhachkala****), Pavel Yakovlev (FC Spartak Moskva).

*On loan from Spartak Moskva
**On loan from Lokomotiv Moskva
***On loan from FC Shakhtar Donetsk
****On loan from Dinamo Moskva