World Cup 2014 Preview: Capello aiming to lead Russian Revolution


The Sports Network

The club returned in 2002 in South Korea and Japan, but again failed to reach the knockout round and followed it up by missing the tournament entirely in both 2006 and 2010.

But Capello will bring an efficient, disciplined team to Brazil that prides itself on defense and has an excellent chance to reach the second round for the first time under the current geopolitical climate. The challenge will be whether or not they can create enough offense.

Capello was in charge of England during the 2010 event in South Africa, but departed his post after the Three Lions fell to Germany, 4-1, in the knockout stages.

He'll be hoping for a better showing with Russia, which possess some talent, but age may be a factor, especially in defense as veteran Sergei Ignashevich is 34 and his central defensive partner, Vasili Berezutski is 31.

Berezutski has 75 caps to his name and is a commanding presence in the penalty area, while Ignashevich may be approaching the twilight of his career but is still effective, as the club conceded just five goals during European qualifying.

In midfield, the key contributor is Dynamo Moscow's Igor Denisov, who is capable of commanding the middle of the park like few others in Europe when he's focused and healthy.

Up top, CSKA Moscow forward Alan Dzagoev will lead the line along with Alexander Korkorin and Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

Dzagoev is just 23 with 30 caps to his name and burst onto the international scene at 17 years old during the 2008 Euros. He is a technically-gifted player, who netted three goals during the '08 Euros, but can be a discipline problem, having been sent off five times in his career.

Kerzhakov is a prolific scorer who led the team in scoring during the qualifying campaign and regularly puts the ball in the back of the net for Zenit St Petersburg.

Since joining Zenit in 2010, Kerzhakov has scored 52 goals in 101 appearances. Capello will be expecting big things from the savvy veteran.

As for Korkorin, he could be one of the most talented young players in Russia along with Dzagoev. He netted 10 goals in 22 appearances last season for Dynamo Moscow. He has seen his stock rise rapidly over the past few seasons and can play as either a second striker or on the wing.

The draw was kind to Russia as the side was placed into Group H along with Belgium, Algeria and South Korea. With Belgium tabbed as the favorite to win the group, the Russians have a golden opportunity to reach their first knockout round.

Read more Soccer stories from the Miami Herald

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates his goal  during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014.

    5 things to know about the English Premier League

    One round of Premier League games has already backed up many pundits' pre-season predictions, notably that Chelsea and Manchester City are title favorites and Manchester United needed more than just a change of manager to arrest its slump.

  • Rwanda appeals African Cup disqualification

    The Confederation of African Football says Rwanda has appealed against its disqualification from African Cup qualifying for fielding a striker who was using two identities.

  • Recap: Seattle vs. San Jose

    Seattle Sounders FC and the San Jose Earthquakes traded second-half goals to share the spoils from a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category