Russia national football team
The Russia national football team represents Russia in men's international football and it is controlled by the Russian Football Union, the governing body for football in Russia. Russia's home ground is the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and their current head coach is Stanislav Cherchesov.
Although a member of FIFA since 1912, Russia first entered the FIFA World Cup in 1958. They qualified for the tournament 11 times in total, with their best result being their fourth-place finish in 1966. Russia has been a member of UEFA since 1954. They won the first edition of the European Championship in 1960 and were runners-up in 1964, 1972 and 1988. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia's best result was in 2008, when the team won bronze medals.
HistoryAfter the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia played its first international match against Mexico on 16 August 1992 winning 2–0 with a team of former Soviet Union players, including some born in other former Soviet republics.
BeginningLed by manager Pavel Sadyrin, Russia were in Group 5 for the qualification campaign for the 1994 FIFA World Cup held in the United States which consisted of Greece, Iceland, Hungary and Luxembourg. The suspension of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia reduced the group to five teams. Russia eventually qualified alongside Greece with six wins and two draws. Russia went to the US to start a new era of Russian football as an independent country. The Russian squad consisted of veterans like goalkeeper Stanislav Cherchesov, Aleksandr Borodyuk and players like Viktor Onopko, Oleg Salenko, Dmitri Cheryshev, Aleksandr Mostovoi, Vladimir Beschastnykh, and Valeri Karpin.
In the final tournament, Russia was drawn into group B with Cameroon, Sweden, and Brazil. This was considered a strong group with Russia having limited chances of qualifying for the second round. In their first two games in Detroit Russia lost 2–0 to Brazil and 3–1 to Sweden. Teetering on elimination, Russia defeated Cameroon 6–1 in San Francisco with Oleg Salenko scoring record five goals in a single match. Russia was eliminated from the tournament with three points from one win and two losses. Sadyrin was later sacked following what was a poor performance.
Euro 1996After Sadyrin was sacked, Oleg Romantsev was appointed coach to lead Russia to Euro 96. Romantsev was expected to qualify Russia for the final tournament and perform well. In his squad he selected many players from the 1994 FIFA World Cup such as Viktor Onopko, Aleksandr Mostovoi, Vladimir Beschastnykh, and Valery Karpin. During qualifying, Russia overcame Scotland, Greece, Finland, San Marino, and the Faroe Islands to finish in first place with eight wins and two draws.
In the final tournament Russia was in Group C with Germany, Czech Republic, and Italy. Group C was considered the 'group of death' with Russia dubbed the weakest team, and they were eliminated after losing 2–1 to Italy and 3–0 to Germany despite a goalless first half in the latter game. Russia's last game against the Czech Republic ended 3–3. Germany and Czech Republic went on to meet in the final.
1997–99After Euro 96, Boris Ignatyev was appointed manager for the campaign to qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, retaining players from Euro 96 such as Viktor Onopko, Aleksandr Mostovoi, and Valery Karpin. In the qualifying stage Russia was in Group 5 with Bulgaria, Israel, Cyprus, and Luxembourg. Russia and Bulgaria were considered the two main contenders to qualify from the group with Israel considered a minor threat. Russia began the campaign with two victories against Cyprus and Luxembourg and two draws against Israel and Cyprus. They continued with victories against Luxembourg and Israel. Russia suffered their only defeat of the campaign with a 1–0 loss to Bulgaria. They ended the campaign with a 4–2 victory in the return game over Bulgaria and qualify for the play-off spot. In the play-offs, Russia was drawn with Italy. In the first leg Russia drew 1–1. In the away leg, Russia were defeated 1–0 and failed to qualify for the World Cup.
After failing to qualify for the World Cup in France, Russia were determined to qualify for the UEFA Euro 2000 co-hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands. Anatoliy Byshovets was appointed as Russia manager. He made very few changes to the squad by recalling players from the previous generations but did call up striker Aleksandr Panov. Russia were drawn in Group 4 for the qualifying round with France, Ukraine, Iceland, Armenia, and Andorra. Russia and France were considered as favorites for the top two spots with Ukraine being an outside contender. Russia began their campaign with three straight defeats to Ukraine, France, and Iceland. Outraged by this result, the Russian Football Union immediately sacked Byshovets and reappointed Oleg Romantsev as manager. The reappointment of Romanstev as manager brought a complete turn-around to Russia's campaign. They went on to win their next six games including a 3–2 victory over France at the Stade de France. In their last game against Ukraine, a win for Russia would have resulted in outright qualification as the winners of the group, having an identical head-to-head record with France, while possessing a superior goal difference. Russia took a 1–0 lead; however the game finished 1–1 after a mistake by the goalkeeper Alexandr Filimonov late in the game. Russia finished third in the group, failing to qualify for their second major tournament in succession.
RevivalOleg Romantsev remained as manager of the national team to supervise their qualification campaign to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan. In the preliminary stage Russia was in Group 1 with Slovenia, FR Yugoslavia, and Switzerland, Faroe Islands, and Luxembourg. Russia were once again considered the favourites to qualify along with either Switzerland or Yugoslavia. Russia finished their campaign in first place to qualify directly managing seven wins, two draws, and a loss.
Russia was drawn into Group H with Belgium, Tunisia, and Japan. In their first game Russia achieved a 2–0 victory over Tunisia, but lost their next match to Japan 1–0, causing riots to erupt in Moscow. For their last game against Belgium, Russia needed a draw to take them to the second round, but lost 3–2 and was eliminated.
managed Russia at Euro 2004
Romantsev was sacked immediately following the tournament and replaced with CSKA's Valery Gazzaev. His task looked difficult as Russia's group consisted of Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, Albania, and Georgia with the Irish considered favourites and an improving Swiss side as an increasing threat. Russia began their campaign with home victories against the Republic of Ireland and Albania, but lost their next two games away to Albania and Georgia. Gazzaev was sacked after a disappointing draw with Switzerland in Basel, and Georgi Yartsev was then appointed manager. He managed to qualify Russia for a play-off against Wales after home victories to Switzerland and Georgia. In the first play-off leg Russia drew 0–0 with Wales in Moscow, but a Vadim Evseev header gave Russia a 1–0 victory in the away leg in Cardiff to qualify for Euro 2004. The victory was overshadowed when Russian midfielder Yegor Titov tested positive for drugs; amidst calls for Russia to be disqualified, Titov was given a one-year ban on 15 February 2004.
Russia were drawn in Group A with hosts Portugal, Spain, and Greece. They were not among the favourites to progress and tournament preparations were hampered by injuries to defenders Sergei Ignashevich and Victor Onopko. Russia started their tournament against Spain but a late goal from Juan Carlos Valerón put Russia on the brink of another group stage elimination. Four days later, Russia became the first team officially eliminated after a 0–2 defeat to Portugal. The final game of the group resulted in a surprising 2–1 victory over eventual champions Greece with Dmitri Kirichenko scoring one of the fastest goals of the tournament.
In the 2006 World Cup qualifying tournament, Russia was drawn into Group 3 with Portugal, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. Russia began qualification with a 1–1 draw against Slovakia on 4 September 2004 in Moscow and then beat Luxembourg 4–0, but suffered a 7–1 defeat against Portugal in Lisbon, which remains Russia's worst defeat. Victories against Estonia and Liechtenstein seemed to put them back on track but a 1–1 draw with Estonia on 30 March 2005 in Tallinn was a major disappointment which saw the end of Georgi Yartsev's reign. Under new manager Yuri Semin, Russia were able to rekindle their hopes with a 2–0 win against Latvia before a 1–1 draw in Riga on 17 August 2005. Russia seemed to redeem themselves with victories against Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and a 0–0 draw against Portugal. In their final game Russia needed to win against Slovakia in Bratislava. After a 0–0 draw Slovakia advanced to the play-offs above Russia on goal difference.
Euro 2008Having failed to qualify Russia for the 2006 World Cup, Yuri Semin stepped down several weeks later and Russia began looking for a new manager. It was clear that a foreign manager would be needed as most of the high-profile Russian coaches were not successful with the national team. On 10 April 2006, it was announced that then Australia manager Guus Hiddink would lead Russia in the Euro 2008 qualification campaign.
For the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, Russia were drawn into Group E with England, Croatia, Israel, Macedonia, Estonia, and Andorra. For much of the campaign, it was between Russia and England to obtain the final qualifying place behind Croatia. Russia lost 3–0 away to England, and in the return game in Moscow, fell to an early goal from Wayne Rooney. During the second half Russia came from behind to win 2–1 with Roman Pavlyuchenko scoring both goals. On 17 November 2007, Russia suffered a 2–1 defeat to Israel to put qualification hopes in jeopardy, but Russia still managed to qualify one point ahead of England by beating Andorra 1–0 while England lost 3–2 to Croatia.
In the Euro 2008 tournament, Russia were drawn into Group D with Sweden and Euro 2004 group rivals Spain and Greece. In a preparation friendly against Serbia, leading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak was injured and would miss the tournament. Russia lost their opening match 4–1 to Spain in Innsbruck but then beat Greece 1–0 with a goal by Konstantin Zyryanov. The third game saw Russia defeat Sweden 2–0 through goals by Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin, resulting in Russia advancing to the quarter-finals in second place behind Spain. This was the first time ever since the fall of USSR, that saw Russia qualified from the group stage of a major tournament.
In the quarter-final against the Netherlands, Roman Pavlyuchenko scored a volley ten minutes after half-time. With four minutes left in the match, Ruud van Nistelrooy scored, to make it 1–1 and put the game into extra time. But Russia regained the lead when Andrei Arshavin raced down the left flank and sent a cross towards substitute Dmitri Torbinski, who tapped the ball into the net. Arshavin then beat Edwin van der Sar, ending the match 3–1, and sent Russia through to their first major semi-final since the breakup of the USSR. In the semi-finals Russia was once again matched up against Spain, and lost 3–0.
2010 FIFA World Cup qualificationRussia was drawn to Group 4 in qualification for 2010 FIFA World Cup, competing with Germany, Finland, Wales, Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein. The team started the campaign with a 2–1 victory over Wales but on 11 October lost 2–1 to Germany. Russia's form then improved, and by winning 3–1 away to Wales on the same day as Finland drew 1–1 to Liechtenstein, guaranteed them at least a play-off spot. The match at the Luzhniki Stadium against Germany to top the group was watched by 84,500 fans. Miroslav Klose scored the only goal of the game in the 35th minute, sending the Germans to the finals in South Africa and Russia to a play-off.
On 14 November, Russia faced Slovenia in the first-leg of their two-legged play-off, where they won 2–1 with two goals from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. In the return match, Russia lost 1–0 in Maribor, and Slovenia qualified for the finals on the away goals rule. On 13 February 2010, it was confirmed that Hiddink would leave his position as manager, with the expiration of his contract on 30 June.qualifying Group B, defeating Slovakia, the Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, Armenia and Andorra.
Final tournamentRussia were drawn into Group A with Poland, Czech Republic, Greece. Led by Dick Advocaat, Russia were considered before the start of the tournament as possible dark horses, because they had been unbeaten for nearly 15 games and managed to record an impressive 3–0 win against Italy only one week before the Euro 2012's opening game kick-off. Living up to the high expectations set for them, The Sbornaya started off the tournament well with a sensational 4–1 win over the Czech Republic and temporarily went top of the group with three points. Alan Dzagoev netted twice and Roman Shirokov and Roman Pavlyuchenko scored. In the second game against co-host Poland, Dick Advocaat's side saw Dzagoev continue his fine form. He netted the opener, but Poland managed to equalise in the second half. Despite having drawn, the result wasn't seen as a bad one. The Sbornaya went full of confidence into their final game against Greece, a team that they were meeting for the third Euro in a row. However, things did not go as expected as Greece scored the opener late in the first half. The game finished with a 1–0 loss which eliminated the Russians from the tournament to the disbelief of the supporters.
The group stage exit was considered to be one of the biggest surprises of the Euro and resulted in a hostile reaction from fans and media. Advocaat and most of the team, such as Andrey Arshavin, were heavily criticized for their perceived overconfidence.
QualificationIn July 2012, the Italian Fabio Capello was named as the new Russian manager, after being sacked by England in February.
Russia competed in Group F of World Cup qualification and qualified in first place after a 1–1 draw with Azerbaijan in their last game. In January 2014, after qualification had been achieved, Capello was rewarded with a new four-year contract to last up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Final tournamentRussia played in Group H against South Korea, Belgium and Algeria.
In their first group match, against South Korea, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev fumbled a long-range shot from Lee Keun-ho, dropping it over the line to give the Koreans the lead. Russia then went on to equalise through substitute Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who drew equal to Vladimir Beschastnykh's record 26 goals for Russia, and the match finished 1–1. In the second match, Russia held Belgium at 0–0 at the Maracanã until substitute Divock Origi scored the only goal in the 88th minute. The final group stage match between Algeria and Russia on 26 June ended 1–1, advancing Algeria and eliminating Russia. A win for Russia would have seen them qualify, and they led the game 1–0 after six minutes through Aleksandr Kokorin. In the 60th minute of the game, a green laser was shone in Akinfeev's face while he was defending from an Algerian free kick, from which Islam Slimani scored to equalise. Both Akinfeev and Russian coach Fabio Capello blamed the laser for the decisive conceded goal.
QualificationRussia were placed in Group G of UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying alongside Sweden, Austria, Montenegro, Moldova and Liechtenstein. Russia began their campaign well with a 4–0 win against Liechtenstein. This was followed by a string of shaky performances by Russia, two 1–1 draws against Sweden and Moldova and two 1–0 losses against Austria. Russia were awarded a 3–0 victory against Montenegro due to crowd violence. At this stage, Russia looked to be finishing third in their group before they bounced back by winning their remaining matches against Sweden, Liechtenstein, Moldova and Montenegro to finish second in their qualifying group above Sweden and qualify for UEFA Euro 2016.
Final tournamentDuring the group stages of the tournament, UEFA imposed a suspended disqualification on Russia for crowd trouble during a group match against England. Russia were knocked out of the competition in their final group match which was against Wales ; prior to this they had only collected a single point from a 1–1 draw against England which was followed by a 2–1 loss to Slovakia.2017 Confederations Cup as hosts, yet once again produced a dismal performance. After defeating New Zealand 2–0 from the beginning, Russia disappointed its fans by losing 0–1 to Portugal and 1–2 to Mexico, thus once again crashed out from the group stage of a major FIFA tournament. Despite this dismal performance, Stanislav Cherchesov, appointed as coach of Russia after Euro 2016, was allowed to keep the job as the RFU considered the tournament as a preparation for Russia's 2018 World Cup rather than an official one.
2018 FIFA World CupOn 2 December 2010, Russia were selected to host the 2018 World Cup and automatically qualified for the tournament. During the friendly matches prior to the tournament, Russia did not have good results. The team lost more games than it won and this made their FIFA ranking fall to 70th, the lowest among all World Cup participants. Russia were drawn to play Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay in the group stage.
Despite a series of poor results in warm-up games, however, Russia began their World Cup campaign with a 5–0 demolition of Saudi Arabia, who were three places above them in the rankings, on 14 June in the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. On 19 June, Russia won their second game of the group stage, beating Egypt by a scoreline of 3–1, taking their goal difference to +7 with only two matches played. The win over Egypt all but secured Russia's advancement into the knockout stage for the first time since 1986, when they played as the Soviet Union; and also for the first time in their history as an independent state. They officially qualified for the knockout stage the next day, following Uruguay's 1–0 win over Saudi Arabia. Russia's final group game was against two-time world champions and powerhouse Uruguay, with Russia losing 3–0, meaning that they would finish second in the group.
Advancing from their group in second place, Russia faced Spain at the Round of 16 in Moscow. Spain were considered one of the tournament favorites with many accomplished players at club and international level, having won 2010 edition. Russia managed to surprise Spain in one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history; beating them in a penalty shootout after the match ended 1–1 in regular time. BBC Sport and The Guardian described this as one of the biggest tournament surprises, considering how Russia were the lowest-ranked team prior to the competition, and according to some, had one of the worst teams of the competition. Against the Spaniards who were known for their Tiki-taka, Coach Stanislav Cherchesov used a defensive 5-3-1-1 formation to sit deep and defend with 10 men, and conceded no goals from open play as Spain's only goal was from a free kick set piece while Russia tied the game thanks for a penalty awarded for a handball. Igor Akinfeev, who saved two penalties including a foot-save to deny Spain's Iago Aspas, was voted as Budweiser Man of the Match. The win against Spain sent supporters and residents of Russia into wild celebrations, as they reached the quarter-finals for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Match TV commentator Denis Kazansky said "From the first day we had not been expecting much from our team. Then thoughts turned to winning the thing. What we have seen is a significant change in people's attitudes, and in the history of Russian football".
Russia then played Croatia in the quarter-finals held at Sochi, on 7 July. Coach Stanislav Cherchesov reverted to a four-man defense which successfully exploited Croatia offensive set-up which proved vulnerable to Russia's counter-attacking. Russia scored first and last as the match finished 2–2 after extra time, and then were eliminated 3–4 in the penalty shootout. Nonetheless, this stands as Russia's best World Cup performance ever since the dissolution of the USSR. The team visited the FIFA Fan Fest in Moscow on Sunday July 8, 2018 to thank their supporters and say goodbye. Following the World Cup run, Russia's position in the FIFA ranking rose from 70 to 40.
In the round of 16:
- The winners of Group A will advance to play the runners-up of Group B.
- The runners-up of Group A will advance to play the winners of Group B.
Knockout stage;Round of sixteen
QualificationIn qualification, the Russian side was drawn in a group with Belgium as its most difficult opponent. Outside Belgium, those remaining opponents were Kazakhstan, San Marino, Cyprus and Scotland and none of them were viewed to possess any serious challenge for Russia.
Thus, as predicted, with the exception of its 1–3 loss to the Belgians away, Russia easily conquered other opponents. In addition, Russian team got the biggest win 9–0 against San Marino after the two 7–0 wins in 1995 and in 2015. Alongside the victory against San Marino, Russia crushed Scotland, Cyprus and Kazakhstan twice, eventually qualified for the UEFA Euro 2020. Russia consolidated its second place in the group after being thrashed by no.1 ranking Belgium 1–4 at home in a meaningless encounter.
Kits and crestsFollowing the break up of the Soviet Union, the Russian Football Union opted for a new identity, replacing the red and white Adidas kits with strips supplied by Reebok. Reebok presented the team in red, blue and white kits reflecting the new national flag of Russia. In 1997, Nike decided on a simpler design using just blue and white. The design, used at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2004, consisted of mainly a white base with blue trim and the opposite combination for the away kit. After failing to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Nike moved in another direction by reintroducing red, this time as the home kit, while white being reversed as the away colour. This trend was continued by Adidas, who took over as suppliers in September 2008. The 2009–10 season marked yet another major change in the kit design with the introduction of the maroon and gold as the primary home colours. This combination however proved to be short lived as a return to red and white was made in 2011. The edition of the kit used at Euro 2012 featured a red base with gold trim and a Russian flag positioned diagonally while the away kit was a minimalistic white with red trim combination. The 2014 FIFA World Cup kit made a return to the maroon and gold colour scheme once again, with Russian flag-coloured stripes built horizontally into the sleeves, the front includes the pattern in different shades of maroon depicting the Monument to the Conquerors of Space. The away 2014 kit was mostly white with blue trim, the top of the front below the trim shows the view of Earth from space. The sides and back of the collar were made in the colours of the Russian flag. The 2018 FIFA World Cup kit did not have much decorations in it, except for the coat of arms. Home red shirt had a very similar design to the uniform of Soviet Union Olympic football team it used at the 1988 Summer Olympics, the last major tournament as of 2018 that Russia or USSR won. The back side of the inside of the shirt had "Together to Victory" slogan printed below the collar. The Russian national team's official shirt supplier since 2008 is Adidas.
FIFA World Cup recordChampions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
UEFA European Championship recordChampions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
UEFA Nations League record
FIFA Confederations Cup record
Results and fixtures
Current squadThe following players were called up for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches against and, on 16 and 19 November 2019.
All caps and goals as of 19 November 2019 after the match against.
Recent call-upsThe following players have been called up for the team within the last 12 months and are still available for selection.
Head-to-head recordInclude the records of, and before 1992
As of 19 November 2019.
RecordsDoes NOT include the records of, and, but only the records of Russian national team proper from 1992 on
Bold indicates active players
ManagersStatistics correct as of 19 November 2019
|July 2006 – June 2010||39||22||7||10||56.41|
|July 2010 – July 2012||24||12||8||4||50|
|July 2012 – July 2015||33||17||11||5||51.52|
|August 2015 – June 2016||13||6||2||5||46.15|
|August 2016 – present||41||19||7||15||46.15|