The spine of this Russia side remains extremely old. Workmanlike Yuri Zhirkov is still expected to shoulder the yeoman’s work out on the left flank at age 37. Plodding striker Artem Dzyuba will look to manhandle respective center backs with a gigantic frame and glacial movements inside the box. The midfield does have some class (Aleksei Miranchuk, Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev).
However, the team as a whole is quite stagnant and direct. It won’t be surprising anyone as it did when it hosted the 2018 World Cup. Russia has lost three of its last five matches — which included a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Serbia. Making matters more difficult, the Russians are placed inside Group B — featuring the likes of Belgium, Denmark, and geographical rival Finland.
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