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EURO 2020 inside track: Russia

UEFA.com's Russia reporter Artur Petrosyan has seen Sbornaya go far before and hopes they can build on a fine home World Cup showing.

Meet the teams: Russia
Meet the teams: Russia

Group A fixtures

12/06: Belgium vs Russia (St Petersburg)
16/06: Finland vs Russia (St Petersburg)
21/06: Russia vs Denmark (Copenhagen)

Team profile

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

Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov
Captain: Artem Dzyuba
Nickname: Sbornaya (National Team)
How they qualified: Group I runner-up (W8 D0 L2 F33 A8)
EURO best: semi-finals (2008)

Where they could play their knockout games

Round of 16: Amsterdam, Bucharest, Seville or Glasgow
Quarter-final: St Petersburg, Munich, Rome or Baku
Semi-final: London
Final: London

Final 26-man squad

Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin (Rubin), Matvei Safonov (Krasnodar), Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moskva)

Defenders: Igor Diveev (CSKA Moskva), Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moskva), Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moskva), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Zenit), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor), Andrei Semenov (Akhmat), Roman Evgenyev (Dinamo Moskva)

Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Denis Cheryshev (Valencia), Daniil Fomin (Dinamo Moskva), Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco), Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit), Maksim Mukhin (CSKA Moskva), Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moskva)

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit), Aleksei Ionov (Krasnodar), Denis Makarov (Rubin), Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta), Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak Moskva), Anton Zabolotny (CSKA Moskva)

UEFA.com Russia team reporter: Artur Petrosyan

This is going to be my ninth EURO as a fan and the fourth as a reporter. It all started in 1988 when, as a little boy, I was so much gutted with the Soviet team losing the final to the Netherlands – but still couldn't help being amazed by that Marco van Basten wonder strike. Twenty years later I made my debut as a reporter and it coincided with Russia's most successful EURO to date, when Guus Hiddink took arguably the best ever Russian team to the semi-finals before losing to eventual winners Spain. Memories!

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

How they play

Russia are pretty flexible tactically. They can either play a defensive 5-3-1-1 formation with little space between the lines, constant pressing and long balls to Dzyuba, or a much more attractive 4-2-3-1 with Russia's bright attackers like Golovin and Miranchuk having sufficient freedom to flourish.

Key player: Artem Dzyuba

The 32-year-old big man remains a vital part of the team no matter how they play. The 2020/21 Russian Premier League top scorer with 20 goals is a default target for the team's attacks – he is good on the ball despite his size, shields it well, can shoot and creates opportunities for team-mates. The powerful Zenit forward is, therefore, a constant headache for defenders.

Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov

The former Russia keeper took charge in 2016 after an unsuccessful EURO campaign and managed to build a side capable of achieving big things. He sensationally took them to the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals and then qualified for UEFA EURO 2020 without much bother. He is a very demanding coach, making his charges leave their all on the pitch, and according to the players, he's fostered a family atmosphere inside the team that helps everyone perform to their limits.

See Protasov's semi-final winner for USSR in 1988
See Protasov's semi-final winner for USSR in 1988

One to watch: Aleksandr Golovin

Golovin was Russia's youngest player and regarded as just a talented prospect at EURO 2016 – now the 25-year-old is arguably the team's best performer and fans' biggest hope. A move to Monaco has helped the ex-CSKA midfielder mature, become a tireless worker and hone his attacking attributes. He is one of the main creative forces in this Russian side.

Can they win it?

Russia can at least repeat their most recent success at a major tournament and reach the quarter-finals. Getting out of the group is the minimal target for the team, with a lot depending on the draw and luck thereafter.

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