By Mihail Korolev
Latvia coach Jurijs Andrejevs has a dearth of in-form strikers in his 21-man squad ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifier at home to Russia on 17 August.
Pahars injury woe
A win in the Riga qualifier would allow Latvia to leapfrog Russia into third place in Group 3. The 21-year-old FHK Liepajas Metalurgs defender Deniss Ivanovs is the only new face while FC Rubin Kazan goalkeeper Aleksandrs Kolinko returns after recovering from a broken arm.
Ivanovs' team-mate Viktors Dobrecovs, who has 12 league goals so far this term, has been left out for disciplinary reasons. His omission accentuates Latvia’s problems up front, particularly with Marians Pahars suffering another injury and Maris Verkapovskis struggling at FC Dynamo Kyiv, who were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by unfancied FC Thun.
Kolinko (FC Rubin Kazan), Piedels (Skonto FC), Stepanovs (Grasshopper-Club), Smirnovs (Amica Sport), Zirnis (FHK Liepajas Metalurgs), Ivanovs (FHK Liepajas Metalurgs), Isakovs (Skonto FC), Zemlinskis (Skonto FC), Zakreševskis (Skonto FC), Korablovs (FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih), Žavoronkovs (FK Ventspils), Bleidelis (Grazer AK), Astafjevs (FC Rubin Kazan), Laizans (FC Torpedo Moskva), Rubins (FC Spartak Moskva), Lobanovs (FK Venta), Solonicins (FHK Liepajas Metalurgs), Verpakovskis (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Prohorenkovs (FC Dinamo Moskva), Miholaps (Skonto FC), Rimkus (FK Ventspils).
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