Hiddink names his choice for Finland qualifier
Russia’s coach Guus Hiddink has announced the squad which will prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifier against Finland on June 10.
Russian residents in the English Premier League – Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin and Tottenham’s Roman Pavlyuchenko – are both on the list.
The rest of the players play for Russian clubs, with three of them returning to the team after quite a long absence.
Spartak winger Vladimir Bystrov last played for Russia at Euro 2008, and CSKA’s defensive midfielder Evgeny Aldonin and Dinamo striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who made his name in Europe by winning the UEFA Cup with Sevilla, have not appeared in the squad since the qualifying round of the tournament in Austria and Switzerland.
There is also one other rookie in the squad, who is CSKA’s youngster Pavel Mamaev. His teammate Alan Dzagoev, considered the biggest new Russian talent, has been left out of the team this time.
Three regulars in Hiddink’s lineup, Lokomotiv Moscow players – Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Dmitry Sychev and Dmitry Torbinsky, who scored Russia’s winner against the Netherlands at Euro 2008, won’t play against the Finns due to injuries.
Goalkeepers – Igor Akinfeev (CSKA), Vladimir Gabulov (Dinamo), Vyacheslav Malafeyev (Zenit);
Defenders – Alexey Berezutskiy, Vasiliy Berezutskiy, Sergey Ignashevich, Yury Zhirkov (all CSKA), Denis Kolodin (Dinamo), Renat Yanbaev (Lokomotiv);
Midfielders – Yevgeny Aldonin, Pavel Mamaev (both CSKA), Vladimir Bystrov (Spartak M), Igor Denisov, Konstantin Zyryanov, Igor Semshov (all – Zenit), Sergey Semak (Rubin);
Forwards – Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal, England), Alexander Kerzhakov (Dinamo), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham, England), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Zenit).
Russia’s main rivals Germany top Group 4 in the World Cup qualifiers, with 16 points. Guus Hiddink’s men are second, with 14 points and a game in hand.
Finland, who have played one game less than Russia, have seven points. Wales are fourth with six points and Azerbaijan and Lichtenstein have one point.
The winner of the group receives an automatic qualification to South Africa 2010, while the second team progresses into play-offs.