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UEFA EURO 2020 contenders in focus: Russia

Our look at the history of all 24 UEFA EURO 2020 contenders continues with 1960 winners Russia.

Andrey Arshavin celebrates a goal against Russia at UEFA EURO 2008
Andrey Arshavin celebrates a goal against Russia at UEFA EURO 2008

EURO pedigree

Previous final tournaments: 11 (5 as USSR, 1 as CIS)
EURO best: winners (1960)

The Soviet team containing legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin won the maiden European Nations' Cup in 1960 but that remains their sole success. USSR finished as runners-up three more times while Guus Hiddink led Russia to the semi-finals in 2008, when they famously beat Netherlands 3-1 in the quarter-finals.

All Russia's goals on the road to EURO 2020
All Russia's goals on the road to EURO 2020

Key players

Artem Dzyuba (47 caps, 26 goals)
The towering striker had to wait until he turned 27 to become a regular for Russia. Soon after the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where Dzyuba scored three goals and helped the team qualify for the quarter-finals, he inherited the captain's armband from Igor Akinfeev following the latter's international retirement. Now 32, the Zenit forward is still leading Russia's attack in terms of goals, assists and link-up play.

Mário Fernandes (25 caps, 3 goals)
The Brazil-born defender, who is in his ninth season at CSKA Moskva and became eligible for Russia in 2017, made an instant impact in the right-back slot for the national side. Fernandes is irreplaceable, being both solid at the back and dangerous going forwards. It was his header deep into extra time against Croatia that took Russia's 2018 World Cup quarter-final to penalties.

Memorable EURO goals

Watch Ponedelnik head USSR to 1960 glory
Watch Ponedelnik head USSR to 1960 glory

• The 1960 final was poised at 1-1 deep into extra time when USSR's Viktor Ponedelnik rose highest in the Yugoslavia box to head in the first winning goal in EURO final history.

• Dmitri Torbinski is warmly remembered by Russia fans for his extra-time strike past Netherlands' Edwin van der Sar in the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final.

• Russia made a stunning start to UEFA EURO 2012 with a 4-1 taming of Czech Republic. Roman Pavlyuchenko's last goal was particularly eye-catching with the forward showing sublime skills to dribble into the area from the left and fire into the top corner.

Memorable moments

Kirichenko scores fastest ever EURO goal
Kirichenko scores fastest ever EURO goal

• USSR's appearance in the 1988 final was a landmark moment – the last time they reached the final – but they were upstaged when Rinat Dasaev conceded one of the game's greatest goals. Netherlands ace Marco van Basten's volley from an exceptionally narrow angle after 54 minutes sealed a 2-0 victory for the Oranje.

• Dmitri Kirichenko scored after just 67 seconds of Russia's 2-1 group-stage win over eventual UEFA EURO 2004 champions Greece. His strike remains the fastest at a EURO finals.

• Victory against the Dutch in 2008 is still regarded in Russia as one of the finest results in their history. Torbinski under a pile of elated team-mates, Andrey Arshavin's signature 'silence' goal celebration and the emotional screams from TV commentators – all these moments instantly became iconic in Russian football culture.

UEFA.tv: Arshavin EURO masterclass


Russia stun the Dutch in 2008
Russia stun the Dutch in 2008

Most final tournament appearances
10: Sergei Ignashevish
9: Aleksandr Anyukov
8: Igor Akinfeev, Oleksiy Mykhailychenko, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Yuri Zhirkov

Most final tournament goals
4: Roman Pavlyuchenko
3: Alan Dzagoev, Valentin Ivanov, Viktor Ponedelnik
2: Andrey Arshavin, Oleh Protasov

Killer stat: Russia/CIS have taken part in six EURO finals since the break-up of the Soviet Union but have made it past the group stage only once.

Did you know?

• Russia shipped three goals in their EURO '96 match against Czech Republic but the result could have been worse for them than the final 3-3 scoreline as Stanislav Cherchesov saw the ball hit his post three times and the bar once. No team have ever been saved by the frame of the goal more than four times in a EURO finals game.

• Cherchesov, who is now Russia's coach, won eight caps for USSR, two for CIS and 39 for Russia as a goalkeeper.

• Alan Dzagoev netted three times at UEFA EURO 2012 and ended up as the tournament's top scorer along with five other players.

UEFA.tv: Great Russia EURO goals