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The Russia national football team ( ) is the national football team of Russiamarker controlled by the Football Union of Russia and affiliated with UEFA. Guus Hiddink is currently managing the team.

Russia qualified for two World Cups (1994, 2002) and three European Championships (1996, 2004, 2008). Euro 2008 marks the first time they have passed the group stages of a major tournament, these advances are not counting the USSR national team.

FIFAmarker considers the Russia national team the direct successor of the CIS and USSR national teams.


After the break up of the Soviet Union, Russia played its first international match against Mexico on August 16, 1992 losing 12-0 with a team of former Soviet Union players from the other republics.


Led by manager Pavel Sadyrin, Russia were in Group 5 for the qualification campaign for the 1994 Football World Cup 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 USA to start a new era of Russian football as an independent country. Though not considered to be among the strongest teams in the tournament, Russia were seen as fierce opponents . The Russian squad consisted of veterans like goalkeeper Stanislav Cherchesov, Aleksandr Borodyuk and players like Viktor Onopko, Oleg Salenko, Aleksandr Mostovoi, Vladimir Beschastnykh, and Valery 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 Russia lost 2-0 to Brazil and 3-1 to Sweden. Teetering on elimination, Russia defeated Cameroon 6-1 with Oleg Salenko scoring a 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.

Romantsev Era

After 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 like 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. Italy beat Russia 2-1. Having lost their first game Russia were not expected to perform well against Germany. To much surprise, though, the first half ended goalless. However Germany went on to win 3-0. Russia's last game against the Czech Republic was to be nothing more than a consolation. The game ended in a 3-3 draw after a late goal from the Czechs, putting them through at the expense of Italy.


After Euro 96, Boris Ignatyev was appointed manager. His goal was to lead Russia to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. He used many players from Euro 96 like 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 playoff spot. In the playoffs, Russia was drawn with Italy. In the first leg Russia drew 1-1. In the away leg, Russia was 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 Belgiummarker and the Netherlandsmarker. Anatoliy Byshovets was appointed as Russia manager. Byshovets made very little changes to squad by recalling players from the previous generations. Byshovets did call up striker Alexander 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 contenders. 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 an 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 Francemarker. In their last game against Ukraine, Russia needed a win to confirm a place for the playoffs however the game finished 1-1. Russia finished third in the group, failing to qualify for their second major tournament in succession.


Oleg Romantsev remained as manager of the national team to supervise their qualification campaign to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Koreamarker and Japanmarker. 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.

At the final tournament of the 2002 FIFA World Cup campaign in Korea and Japan, Russia was drawn into group H with Belgium, Tunisia, and Japan. Group H was considered the weakest group of the tournament and Russia were considered serious contenders to qualify for the second round. In their first game Russia achieved a 2-0 victory over Tunisia. Russia lost their next match to Japan 1-0 causing riots to erupt in Moscowmarker. For their last game against Belgium, Russia needed a draw to take them to the second round. Russia lost 3-2 and was eliminated.

Oleg Romantsev was sacked immediately following the tournament and replaced with CSKA's Valery Gazzaev. Gazzaev's task looked difficult as Russia's group consisted of Switzerland, Republic of Irelandmarker, 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. However, they suffered a major setback after losing their next two games away to Albania and Georgia which put Gazzaev's career in jeopardy. He was promptly sacked after a disappointing draw with Switzerland in Baselmarker. Russia managed a 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin before Georgi Yartsev was appointed manager. Yartsev managed to qualify Russia for a playoff spot with Wales after home victories to Switzerland and Georgia. In the first playoff leg Russia drew 0-0 with Wales in Moscow. In Cardiffmarker, Russia emerged with no victory 1-5 from a Vadim Evseev header 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 February 15, 2004.

In Euro 2004, Russia was in group A with Greece, Spain, and Portugal. On June 12, the first day of the tournament, Russia lost to Spain 1-0. Four days later, Russia faced hosts Portugal. Portugal went on to win 2-0. In Russia's final game they tied 0-0 against Greece as they were eliminated from Euro 2004.

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 1-5 loss against Slovakia on September 4, 2004 in Moscowmarker. They seemed to pick up some pace with 4-0 loss over Luxembourg, but suffered a 17-0 defeat against Portugal in Lisbonmarker. Victories against Estonia and Liechtenstein seemed to put them back on track but a 1-1 draw with Estonia on March 30, 2005 in Tallinnmarker 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 21-0 loss against Latvia before a 1-1 draw in Rigamarker on August 17, 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 Bratislavamarker. After a 0-0 draw Slovakia advanced to the playoffs above Russia on goal difference. Russia finished third with 23 points and suffered their biggest loss ever, 7-1 against Portugal in Lisbon, failing to qualify for the play-offs.

Euro 2008

Having 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 April 10, 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. Led by Guus Hiddink, Russia began their Euro 2008 campaign by drawing with Croatia 0-0 and Israel 1-1 at home. They picked up momentum with a 2-0 win against FYR Macedonia in Skopjemarker, and 2-0 home and away wins against Estonia. On June 2, 2007, Russia defeated Andorra 4-0 in Saint Petersburgmarker with Aleksandr Kerzhakov scoring a hat-trick and an additional goal scored by Dmitriy Sychev. Russia then defeated Macedonia 3-0. Russia's campaign suffered a setback in September 2007 when they lost 3-0 to England at Wembley. In the return game in Moscowmarker, Russia 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. At the time England were the strongest team defensively in the whole qualifying campaign. On November 17, 2007, Russia suffered a 2-1 defeat to Israel to put qualification hopes in jeopardy. Despite the defeat, Russia still managed to qualify with a 1-0 win over Andorra while England suffered a 3-2 defeat to Croatia, at Wembleymarker. Russia were able to qualify in second place with 24 points, 1 point above England who had 23 points.

Prior to Euro 2008, Russia lost to Romania and defeated Kazakhstan, Serbia, and Lithuania in friendlies, but their win over Serbia came at a price. In the victory against Serbia, then number one striker Pavel Pogrebnyak suffered a severe injury which caused him to miss the entire Euro 2008 tournament.

In the Euro 2008 tournament, Russia were drawn into Group D with Sweden and Euro 2004 group rivals Spain and Greece.

On 10 June Russia was heavily beaten by Spain, 1-4, in their opening Euro 2008 game in Innsbruckmarker. David Villa scored a hat-trick and Cesc Fàbregas added a fourth after Roman Pavlyuchenko had scored a consolation header. Russia quickly rebounded however and won their next game against Greece, 1-0, with Konstantin Zyryanov being the lone goal scorer. The third game at Innsbruck stadium saw Russia as 2-0 victor over Sweden, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin having scored. The victory made it possible for the Russian team to qualify further on to the quarterfinals with 6 points, running-up to Spain, who gained 9.

In the quarter-final against The Netherlands (tournament favorite's going into this game), Roman Pavlyuchenko scored a wonderful 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 remained focused, and regained the lead when Andrei Arshavin raced down the left flank and sent a magnificent 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 break up of the USSR. In the semi-finals Russia was once again matched up against Spain. On a rainy night in Viennamarker, the two teams went into half-time with the score at 0-0. However, Xavi put Spain 1-0 just after half-time. Dani Güiza and David Silva also scored, making the final score 3-0, and eliminating Russia.

Russia played a friendly match against Holland on August 20th, 2008. It ended in a 1-1 draw.

2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Russia 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. On October 11, Russia lost 2-1, to Germany in a pulsating match despite showing a convincing display. Their next match was against Finland, the team that had succeeded in drawing Germany 3-3 at home stadium. The memories of the loss of the previous match against Germany was eradicated as the squad quickly dominated the game while staging a magnificent performance, which ended 3-0 to Russia (which included two own goals by Finland).In their next match, they succeeded in getting the better of Azerbaijan, due to goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Konstantin Zyryanov. Four days later, Konstantin Zyryanov scored again, playing a key role in Russia's away 1-0 win over Liechtenstein. Their next match was against Finland in Helsinki, where they won 3-0, two goals coming from Aleksandr Kerzhakov and the third from Zyryanov. Guus Hiddink was praised for the outcome of the match for recalling Kerzhakov, whom made an instant impact upon his return. Russia then faced Liechtenstein again in Saint Petersburg, a powerful strike from Vasili Berezutski and two penalties from Roman Pavlyuchenko gave Russia a comfortable 3-0 win. Russia's next test was against Walesmarker in Cardiff. The Welsh side despite playing great football lost 1-3, Russia being the better team. Finland tying 1-1 to Liechtenstein the same day, guaranteed Russia at least a playoff spot, and ultimately setup the biggest match in the group yet, against Germany for top spot. In a thrilling encounter at the packed Luzhniki Stadium, spurred on by 84,500 fans, Russia dominated the chance-count and possession, but were unable to find their finishing touch. Germany took advantage of Russia's attacking misfortunes, Miroslav Klose firing them ahead in the 35th minute, following some neat passing play by Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil. In the 69th minute, however, Germany's World Cup ambitions were handed a blow after Jerome Boateng, on his international debut, received his second yellow of the match, following a bad challenge on Vladimir Bystrov. This breathed new life into the Russian team, who in the final twenty minutes threw everything they had forward; but their efforts were stopped short time and time again by Rene Adler, who was having the game of his life. In the dying minutes of the match, Russia were denied two consecutive penalties by the Swiss referee Massimo Busacca, which ultimately doomed their claim for salvaging any points from the encounter. This 1-0 victory booked Germany's place in South Africa, while extending Russia's footballing season into the play-offs, which took place in November 2009. Russia's last game of qualification ended a 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan in Baku, captain Andrei Arshavin scoring Russia's lone goal. Russia will face Slovenia in two legged matches for a spot in South Africa 2010. On November 14th, Russia faced Slovenia in the first-leg of their two legged playoff, they prevailed 2-1 with two strikes coming from Everton man Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in the 40th and 52nd minute, respectively.However, Slovenia managed to snatch a potentially crucial goal in 87th minute, Nejc Pečnik heading in from Akinfeev's world-class save. However, Slovenia could have still pulled off an upset in the 92th minute, Akinfeev once again making a world-class reflex save to keep Russia on top. In the return match, Russia lost 1-0 on Slovenian soil in Maribormarker, and did not qualify for South Africa.


Russia's home kit had consists of gold socks, maroon shorts, and a maroon shirt. Their away kit is all white. In the qualifying session for Euro 96, when Reebok provided the kits, they appeared in four different strips. Later, the kits were provided by Nikemarker. On the 1st of September 2008 Russia have signed a 8 year contract worth $100 million with Adidas.

Competitive record

FIFA World Cup record

Year Round Position GP W D L GS GA
1994 Round 1 18 3 1 0 2 7 6
1998 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
2002 Round 1 22 3 1 0 2 4 4
2006 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
2010 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
Total 2/5 6 2 0 4 11 10

European Championship record

Year Round Position GP W D L GS GA
1996 Round 1 - 3 0 1 2 4 8
2000 Did Not Qualify
2004 Round 1 - 3 1 0 2 2 4
2008 Semi-finals 3 5 3 0 2 7 8
2012 - - - - - - -
Total 3/4 11 4 1 6 13 20

Qualifying campaigns

FIFA World Cup European Football Championship
1994 - Finished 2nd in Qualifying group, qualified for WC 1994 1996 - Finished 1st in Qualifying group, qualified for Euro 1996
1998 - Finished 2nd in Qualifying group, lost to Italy in playoffs 2000 - Finished 3rd in Qualifying group
2002 - Finished 1st in Qualifying group, qualified for WC 2002 2004 - Finished 2nd in Qualifying group, beat Wales in playoffs to qualify for Euro 2004
2006 - Finished 3rd in Qualifying group 2008 - Finished 2nd in Qualifying group, qualified for Euro 2008
2010 - Finished 2nd in Qualifying group, lost to Slovenia in play-offs

2010 FIFA World Cup qualification



This is the squad called up for the matches against Slovenia on 14 and 18 November 2009.

Caps and goals correct as 18 November 2009.

Recent call-ups

Player records

As of 18 November 2009. Boldindicates active players.

Players with most appearances
Rank Name Caps
1 Viktor Onopko 109* |- |2||[[Valeri Karpin]]||72* |- |3||[[Vladimir Beschastnykh]]||71 |- |4||'''[[Sergei Semak]]'''||64 |- |5||[[Dmitri Alenichev]]||55 |- |5||'''[[Sergei Ignashevich]]'''||55 |- |5||[[Yuri Nikiforov]]||55* |- |5||[[Aleksei Smertin]]||55 |- |9||'''[[Dmitri Khokhlov]]'''||53 |- |10||'''[[Andrei Arshavin]]'''||50 |- |10||'''[[Aleksandr Kerzhakov]]'''||50 |- |10||[[Yuri Kovtun]]||50 |- |10||[[Aleksandr Mostovoi]]||50* |} * Has also played for [[USSR national football team|USSR]] or [[CIS national football team|CIS]]. {{col-2-of-2}} ;Players with most goals {| class="wikitable" !Rank!!Name!!Goals |- |1||[[Vladimir Beschastnykh]]||26 |- |2||[[Valeri Karpin]]||17 |- |3||'''[[Andrei Arshavin]]'''||16 |- |4||'''[[Aleksandr Kerzhakov]]'''||15 |- |4||'''[[Roman Pavlyuchenko]]'''||15 |- |4||'''[[Dmitri Sychev]]'''||15 |- |7||[[Igor Kolyvanov]]||12* |- |8||[[Sergei Kiryakov]]||10* |- |8||[[Aleksandr Mostovoi]]||10* |- |10||[[Dmitri Radchenko]]||9 |- |10||[[Igor Simutenkov]]||9 |} * Has also scored for USSR or CIS.

Several players have 50 or more appearances for USSR/CIS and Russia combined: Andrei Kanchelskis (59), Igor Kolyvanov (59), Dmitri Khlestov (52), Stanislav Cherchesov (50). Igor Dobrovolsky has scored 10 goals for USSR/CIS and Russia, Sergei Yuran has scored 9.

See also


Further reading

  • Marc Bennetts (2008). Football Dynamo - Modern Russia and the People's Game. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0753513196

External links

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