Fabio Capello
3th World cup
FIFA Ranking: 18
Best result: first round

Group H
South Korea

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Russia passes Confederations Cup test but hosts need a team to rally behind | Shaun Walker

The Guardian

Russia has eased fears ahead of the 2018 World Cup by delivering a friendly, organised dress rehearsal – but the hosts are still lacking a competitive teamThe Confederations Cup is drawing to a close, and overall Russians will feel pleased at how the eight-team warm-up tournament has gone – except for the performance of the home team. On Sunday evening, Germany take on Chile in the late sunlight of a St Petersburg summer evening, and then that will be it until 14 June next year, when the Fifa circus descends on Russia for the main event. Related: Leon Goretzka drives Germany past Mexico into Confederations Cup final Continue reading...

We must teach fans about discrimination before World Cup, says Smertin

The former international star, who is in charge of combating racism in Russian football before the tournament, is encouraged by the hosts' progress

FIFA looking into Russia doping claims as Mutko insists 'there has never been a problem'

The country's Deputy Prime Minister says allegations of doping by the national team at the 2014 World Cup are baseless but an investigation is ongoing

Surely it is no surprise that even football maybe tainted in Russia? | Sean Ingle

The Guardian

Fifa must finally flex its muscles and deprive Russia from staging next year’s World Cup if the investigation into possible doping offences by the country’s 2014 World Cup squad prove to be trueOf course there were denials. There are always denials. It is part of the dance, the fast‑paced barynya, when it comes to Russia and doping allegations. No sooner had the Mail on Sunday revealed that the country’s entire 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup was under investigation by Fifa for possible doping offences, than its deputy prime minister, and chairman of 2018 World Cup Russia, Vatily Mutko, put up the shutters. “There have never been and will never be any problems with doping in our football,” he said. “They have written some sort of nonsense.” He was similarly dismissive about allegations about doping in Russian athletics in 2013. So it goes.This, of course, is the same Mutko that a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation found might have personally intervened to cover up a failed drug test by a banned foreign footballer, which meant the sample was never declared positive and he was free to keep playing. And the same Mutko who was Russia’s sports minister during the period when the Canadian law professor Richard McLaren found that more than 1,000 elite Russian athletes across 30 sports had benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme. Strangely it did not harm his political career. In fact he was promoted. Related: Russia’s entire 2014 World Cup squad face Fifa doping investigation Continue reading...

Russia’s entire 2014 World Cup squad face Fifa doping investigation

The Guardian

• Investigators deem all 23 players in Russia’s 2014 squad ‘people of interest’• 34 Russian footballers in total are among 1,000 individuals being looked intoRussia is at the centre of another doping scandal after it emerged the country’s entire 23-man squad from the 2014 World Cup is being investigated by Fifa over possible drugs offences. Russia is currently hosting the Confederations Cup and in under a year will stage the World Cup but these allegations are likely to throw its suitability to stage such events into serious doubt.The 23-man squad, who were knocked out in the group stages of the Brazil World Cup three years ago, are among 34 Russian footballers being investigated by football’s world governing body. Five of the 23 players tested in 2014 are members of the squad that was knocked out of the Confederations Cup on Saturday. Continue reading...

Hirving Lozano seals Mexico win to send Russia out of Confederations Cup

The Guardian

• Mexico into semis after hosts Russia throw away lead to lose 2-1• Portugal beat New Zealand 4-0 to earn semi-final spotRussia fought valiantly in Kazan but the hosts could not avoid early elimination from the Confederations Cup, losing 2-1 to Mexico, who join the Group A winners, Portugal, in the semi-finals after the European champions beat last-place New Zealand 4-0 in St Petersburg.Needing a victory to advance from their difficult group, Russia played well and took the lead with a goal by Alexander Samedov in the first half, but the experienced Mexico side equalised with Néstor Araujo before half-time and secured the win early in the second half with a goal by Hirving Lozano after a blunder by the goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. Continue reading...

Cristiano Ronaldo header earns Portugal Confederations Cup win over Russia

The Guardian

• Russia 0-1 Portugal (Ronaldo 8’)• Portugal move above hosts at top of Group ACristiano Ronaldo’s 74th senior international goal was enough to earn Portugal victory over hosts Russia in the Confederations Cup.The 32-year-old Real Madrid forward’s early header secured a 1-0 win at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium and left Fernando Santos’ men on four points, a point clear of their opponents, at the top of Group A. Related: Russia 0-1 Portugal: Confederations Cup 2017 – as it happened Related: Real Madrid’s mixed messages put the ball back in Cristiano Ronaldo’s court | Sid Lowe Continue reading...

Russia v Portugal: Confederations Cup 2017 – live!

The Guardian

Confederations Cup updates as the hosts take on Ronaldo and coReal Madrid’s mixed messages put the ball back in Ronaldo’s courtAnd feel free to email Michael or tweet him @michaelbutler18 11.11am BST How much do you really care about the Confederations Cup? For you, reader, it might be a good way to waste a Wednesday, some light entertainment in between your regular trips to the office water fountain and some FaceTime with the desk fan. It’s hard to see how Portugal are motivated for this one: their players have enjoyed and endured long, hard seasons: they’ve won trophies galore in 2016-17, already secured big money moves to some of Europe’s top clubs and after their remarkable success last summer, the European champs could probably do without another tournament that, at best, will only be a footnote in their careers.For Russia, it is a whole different ball game. They really care about the Confederations Cup. One year until they host the World Cup, off the pitch it is about proving to the globe that their stadiums and infrastructure are ready to host next summer’s tournament. But on the pitch, it matters even more. The Confederations Cup is the only competitive football that they have played since Euro 2016 and the only competitive football that they will play before the World Cup group stages. Every single member of Russia’s squad plays in Russia, and the Confederations Cup is widely seen as the best way to help secure a move this summer, so that their players can play at a higher level before next summer. One of the favourites to earn a move, Fedor Smolov, who scored against New Zealand in Russia’s win over New Zealand on Saturday, has even admitted: “Let’s be honest: the European leagues are better and stronger, and if players are playing on a higher level it means we are better prepared for the national team.” Continue reading...

Russia 2 New Zealand 0: Hosts make confident start to Confederations Cup

Fyodor Smolov's second-half strike sealed victory for Russia in their Confederations Cup opener against New Zealand.

Smolov launches Confederations Cup mission to spark Russia World Cup fever

The Guardian

Fedor Smolov sealed a 2-0 win against New Zealand then outlined the hosts’ aim to ‘make the Russian people fall in love with the national team again’The Confederations Cup got under way in St Petersburg on Saturday evening with Russia managing a convincing 2-0 win against New Zealand in front of a roaring 50,000 crowd.With a year to go until the World Cup, the average Russian fan is not worried about potential stadium violence or any of the other controversies discussed in the foreign press. Anxiety is reserved for one thing only: whether the Russian team will put in a respectable performance on home soil. The national side have become something of a laughing stock in recent years and the players are well aware they have a lot to do to win back the affections of the nation before the World Cup starts. Related: Russia 2-0 New Zealand: Confederations Cup 2017 - as it happened Continue reading...

Russia v New Zealand: Confederations Cup 2017 – live!

The Guardian

Confederations Cup updates from the opener, kick-off 4pm BSTThe Joy of Six: Confederations Cup | Russia hopes to banish fearsAnd feel free to email 5.05pm BST 46 min Peep peep! Russia begin the second half. 5.04pm BST Poloz’s part in the goal was so good. Dennis Bergkamp couldn’t have done it better. The ball was fired at him from close range by Erokhin, and came at an awkward height as well. In a split-second he adjusted his body and helped the ball first time into the space behind the defence, weighting the touch perfectly to meet Glushakov’s run. It was a tremendous touch. 4.54pm BST Half-time businessWould you like to sign up for The Recap, our new weekly email showcasing the best of our sport coverage? It’s free and, if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe without having to enter your last ten addresses, a Captcha code and the middle name of your favourite schoolteacher. Related: The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian's sport coverage 4.50pm BST “Afternoon Rob,” says Andrew Beaumont. “Kiwi now living in London (with about half of NZ’s population) watching the football. If you’re worried about NZ being an “All White” team, our away strip is a very smart black one which will dissuade any racist notions. I can say that supporting the All Whites on the ground in South Africa in 2010 was a very interesting experience...” Did you have any waitresses called Suzie? 4.49pm BST Peep peep! That was an enjoyable half of football between two admittedly limited teams. Russia deservedly lead through Denis Glushakov’s goal. See you in 10 minutes! 4.48pm BST 45+1 min A free-kick to New Zealand near the halfway line. Set pieces are their best chance. They have angled all of them towards Wood at the far post, with mixed results. This time it’s headed out to Thomas, who shanks his half-volley on the edge of the area. 4.46pm BST 44 min Boxall shoves Zhirkov - yep, that one - over on the left wing. Samedov’s free-kick is rubbish. 4.44pm BST 41 min “DO YOU GET LOTS OF EMAILS DOING THESE..?” says Joseph Kennedy. “I’m a long-time reader first-time writer. In Canada getting off night shift in oil sand Having a few beers and found this on TV. Twenty years ago you have had trouble finding the World Cup itself on TV. And even five years ago qualifiers were hard to find now all soccer is everywhere. Seems like a reasonably entertaining game to my uneducated eye.”It depends on the game. Sometimes you get 10 emails all match, and you have to beg for those. Other times a swollen inbox contributes significantly to an already frazzled noggin. 4.41pm BST 39 min Glushakov plays a penetrative pass down the inside-left channel to Smolov, who comes back inside onto his right foot and bends a tame effort well wide of the far post. 4.40pm BST 37 min “Would that it were so simple?” sniffs Sadeq. “There’s only one scene that comes to mind. I half imagine Anthony Hudson trying to teach Winston Reid how to pull off a defence splitting quarterback pass. Trippingly.”That’s one of the great examples of a classic scene in an average film. 4.40pm BST 34 min Scratch that: it hit the post, hit McGlinchey and went in, but I suspect it was Glushakov’s goal as it would probably have spun over the line anyway. And, because, y’know. 4.36pm BST 33 min On reflection, I think that might be an own goal from Smith. It’s hard to tell, even after a few replays, because it was a real scramble. But I think it hit the post and rebounded off Smith before going into the net. 4.35pm BST New Zealand tried to play the ball out of defence, a mistake they won’t make again. They gave it away, and a couple of quick passes from Erokhin and Poloz - the second a beautiful piece of improvisation - allowed Glushakov to run through on goal. He lobbed it over the keeper and was involved in a race with two defenders as the ball bounced slowly towards goal. They all slid in at the same time, and I think it hit the post before bouncing off Glushakov and into the net. 4.33pm BST I told you Russia were crap. 4.32pm BST 30 min Poloz has a goal rightly disallowed for offside. No need to go upstairs. 4.32pm BST 29 min I don’t like to be negative, but we’re all doomed, they’ve got surveillance on our ass Russia look a painfully ordinary team. Next summer could get nasty for them, depending on the draw. 4.28pm BST 27 min “Our announcer here, former player Stuart Holden, has told us that was no penalty because the Russian player took a heavy touch,” says JR in Illinois. “This has left me wondering if Stuart Holden knows the laws of the game. No stoppages for racism yet is good news. Let’s see how long it can continue.”Aren’t New Zealand an all-white team? Or is that FAKE VIEWS? 4.28pm BST 26 min A long-range shot from Dzhikya is pushed behind for a corner by the unconvincing Marinovic. 4.25pm BST 23 min “Do you happen to know what has happened to Winston Reid?” says Chasuman. “Would’ve thought a Premier League defender would be an automatic starter for us (the Kiwis that is).”He is injured. I think. 4.24pm BST 22 min Wood smashes a snapshot into orbit from 20 yards. New Zealand will be happy with the first quarter of this match, despite those early scares. They look a compact, organised side. I realise that sounds patronising but it’s not meant to be. They seem like a team who have embraced their limitations. Would that it were so simple. 4.20pm BST 20 min “Evening (or should I say good morning) from Australia Rob!” says Patrick Wills. “University exams pending so the heights of my procrastination have led me to this blockbuster (ahem) match-up. Rojas and Barbarouses are pacey dribblers that are both worth keeping an eye on from our friends across the ditch in NZ, the former in particular has been given the unfortunate ‘Kiwi Messi’ tag but he does have some very tidy feet. Made a move to Stuttgart a few years ago but it never quite worked out for him so he’s back in our domestic league strutting his stuff. As a Sydney fan it’s very hard to compliment a man from our much loathed rivals in Melbourne but he’s worthy of the praise.” 4.19pm BST 18 min Wood’s unconvincing low shot is kicked behind for a New Zealand corner by Smolov. 4.19pm BST 17 min New Zealand win a free-kick just outside the penalty area on the left. It’s a tight angle but Wood might have a crack nonetheless... 4.18pm BST 14 min That should have been a penalty to Russia. A nothing ball forward ran all the way through to Poloz, who skipped round the keeper Marinovic and fell over dramatically. At first it looked like a dive, and the referee waved play on. Replays suggested there was contact. 4.17pm BST 12 min New Zealand’s first snifter of a chance. The keeper Marinovic angles a very long free-kick to the giant Wood, who heads it into the penalty area. The stretching Smith beats a defender to the ball but can only divert the ball across goal rather than towards it. 4.12pm BST 9 min Smith clears off the line for New Zealand! That’s twice in three minutes the ball has been cleared from under the crossbar. Poloz smartly chested down a cross from the right at the far post before toeing it past the outrushing Marinovic. It would have dribbled into the net but for Smith’s intervention. 4.10pm BST 7 min Russia are starting to dominate, with Durante conceding a corner on the right. Samedov’s outswinger is headed onto the far post by the stooping Vasin, with McGlinchey kicking the rebound off the line. 4.08pm BST 4 min “Proud Kiwi watching from Amsterdam,” says Oli Laugeray-Cleaver. “ITV commentators mocking New Zealand before even kick off - seems a bit rough seeing how England did in the last tournament they were in...”It’s human nature. See also: Tony Soprano calling Bobby Bacala a ‘Calzone with legs’. 4.06pm BST 3 min Golovin, the player being linked with Arsenal by all good gossip-mongers, hits a crisp rising drive from the left edge of the box that is fumbled behind for a corner by Marinovic. 4.02pm BST 1 min Peep peep! New Zealand, in white, kick off from right to left. Russia are in red. The stadium isn’t exactly full. 3.57pm BST Anyone out there? We can talk about the Russian in the Sopranos if it makes things easier. 3.49pm BST Brazil have won the last three Confederations Cups. They won’t win this one, as they haven’t qualified. The only previous winners in this tournament are Mexico, who were champions back in 1999, when Ronan Keating was topping the charts with When You Say Nothing At All. Good times. 3.37pm BST Parochial departmentLeeds striker Chris Wood and Ipswich’s Tommy Smith start for New Zealand, while Monty Patterson – who spent the end of last season on loan at Braintree - is on the bench. Russia’s team includes the apparently excellent young midfielder Aleksandr Golovin, who has been linked with Arsenal. 3.37pm BST A strong contender for the naffest tweet everWhen it's Friday and the #ConfedCup kicks off tomorrow #FridayFeeling 3.37pm BST As you probably know, video assistant referees will be used in this competition. Imagine being the VAR who has to decide whether to award a 90th-minute penalty against Russia next summer. That would test the clarity of your decision-making. 3.15pm BST Let’s be honest: small boys don’t lie awake at night dreaming about winning the Confederations Cup. But it’s still an elite competition, and has produced a series of iconic moments down the years. Nick Ames has picked six of the best. Related: The Joy of Six: Confederations Cup moments | Nick Ames 3.07pm BST Russia (3-5-2) Akinfeev; Dzhikya, Vasin, Kudriashov; Samedov, Erokhin, Glushakov, Golovin, Zhirkov; Smolov, Poloz.New Zealand (3-4-3) Marinovic; Boxall, Durante, Smith; Colvey, Thomas, McGlinchey, Wynne; Rojas, Wood, Barbarouses. 10.48am BST Hello and welcome to live coverage of the opening match of the Confederations Cup, between Russia and New Zealand in St Petersburg. Russia will host next year’s World Cup, and the focus on issues off the field – racism, hooliganism, etc - has obscured the most important football question: are this lot any good or what?This, according to the Fifa/world rankings is the worst Russia team since records began. They are 63rd, one place below Uzbekistan, just ahead of Armenia and Curacao. The emergence of a new generation does offer some encouragement, with the average age of the squad falling below 50 for the first time in a while, and this tournament should give us an idea what they might achieve next summer. Continue reading...

Russia defends labour practices as FIFA sidesteps Qatar crisis

FIFA's secretary general and Russian officials faced some uncomfortable questions over workers' rights, protests and Qatar on Monday

Mutko: Racism not purely a Russian problem

On the eve of the Confederations Cup, senior government minister Vitaly Mutko is adamant his country has taken strong action against racism.