Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has called up 27 players for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers which they will kickstart against Malta on March 24.
Quarter-finalists in the 2018 edition, which they hosted as well, Russia will be facing Devis Mangia’s side at the National Stadium in their opening match.
Afterwards, they will host Slovenia in Sochi on March 27 before travelling to Trnava where they will wrap up the first part of the qualifications against Slovakia, three days later.
Former coach of Legia Warsaw Cherchesov, with whom he had travelled to Malta for a winter training camp back in 2016, has named some of the starts that delighted the Russian fans during the summer of 2018.
These include Monaco’s forward Aleksandr Golovin, who has wracked up six assists and 4 goals this season as the Monegasques are challenging for a Champions League spot.
In addition, Cherchesov named also prolific forward Artem Dzyuba who during the previous World Cup scored against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Spain. At club level, Dzyuba has found the net 12 times in 20 league games as Zenit are closing in on their eighth Russian championship.
Long-serving Yuri Zhirkov, now 37, is also called up alongside Atalanta’s player Alexey Miranchuk. Mario Fernandez, who scored against Croatia in the World Cup, is also part of the squad.
Goalkeepers: Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow), Soslan Dzhanaev (FC Sochi), Yuri Dupin (Rubin Kazan).
Defenders: Georgy Jikia (Spartak Moscow), Yuri Zhirkov, Vyacheslav Karavaev (both Zenit St. Petersburg), Alexander Zhirov (Sandhausen – Germany), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor – Turkey), Roman Neustadter (Dynamo Moscow), Ilya Samoshnikov (Rubin Kazan), Andrey Semenov (Akhmat Grozny), Igor Smolnikov (Krasnodar), Mario Fernandez (CSKA Moscow).
Midfielders: Ilzat Akhmetov (CSKA Moscow), Alexander Golovin (Monaco – France), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moscow), Alexey Ionov (FC Krasnodar), Daler Kuzyaev, Andrey Mostovoy , Magomed Ozdoev (all Zenit St. Petersburg), Resiuan Mirzov (Khimki), Alexey Miranchuk (Atalanta – Italy), Daniil Fomin (Dynamo Moscow).
Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit St. Petersburg), Anton Zabolotny (FC Sochi), Alexander Sobolev (Spartak Moscow).