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FIFA World Cup finals history
Russia reached the quarter-finals at Sweden 1958, Chile 1962 and Mexico 1970. In the former two tournaments, they were eliminated by the hosts, while Uruguay were accountable for their exit after extra time in Mexico City. The Eastern Europeans went one better at England 1966, when, inspired by goalkeeper Lev Yashin and forward Igor Chislenko, they topped their group and edged a formidable Hungary, before losing 2-1 to both West Germany in the semis and Portugal in the play-off for third place.
The key players
This latest Russian side is built on solid defensive foundations. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev did not miss a single minute of the qualifying competition and conceded just five goals during the course of it, while Sergey Ignashevich marshalled the defence with aplomb. Yet Fabio Capello’s most prized assets can be found in what is a technically gifted and astute midfield unit, where Roman Shirokov and Victor Fayzulin have continued to hone the partnership they have forged at Zenit St Petersburg, scoring six goals between them in the qualifiers.
Current coach: Fabio Capello
Best performance in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup England 1966 (Fourth place)
Former stars: Yashin, Eduard Streltsov, Oleg Blokhin