Euro 2012: Predicting Russia's Starting 11 for Its Squad
In anticipation of the 2012 UEFA European Championship, here is my prediction for who will be the starting 11 men for the Russian squad at Euro 2012.
While it is expected that Russia may have some faces from Euro 2008, new faces will be present. My prediction is that Russia will gradually phase out the generation born in the 1980's for the next generation.
The following slideshow is expected to be a reflection of this assumption.
Igor Akinfeev: Goalkeeper and Captain
Igor Akinfeev is the goalkeeper for CSKA Moscow and may be the one for Russia. According to the CSKA Moscow website, Akinfeev participated in the majority of the events and cups held by the Russian Premier League.
Akinfeev is also the Ambassador for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia. According to the latest poll by the CSKA Moscow website, Akinfeev was selected as the best player in the Rubin Kazan VS CSKA Moscow match by majority vote.
Alan Dzagoev: Midfielder
Alan Dzagoev is a part of a new generation of midfielders in CSKA Moscow and may be added to the Russian National Football Team. According to the CSKA Moscow website, Dzagoev scored 37 goals in 153 matches. His youth, persistence, discipline, and tenacity will make him an asset to the Russian National Football Team.
Igor Denisov: Midfielder
Igor Denisov is a midfielder with Zenit St. Petersburg and has experience playing for the Russian national team. According to the Zenit St. Petersburg website, he has scored three goals in 107 matches.
Denisov also started 106 of the 107 matches that he participated in. His efforts helped Zenit St. Petersburg win the 2011-2012 Champions of Russia Trophy.
Alexander Bukharov: Striker and Forward
Alexander Bukharov is a forward and striker for Zenit St. Petersburg who would be a great addition to the Russian team for Euro 2012. According to the Zenit St. Petersburg website, Bukharov scored 29 goals in 73 matches.
Bukharov started 45 of the 73 matches and was a substitute in 28 of them. He once declared that he would prefer playing football to taking a vacation as reported by the Zenit St. Petersburg website.
Alexander Anyukov: Defender
Alexander Anyukov is one of the established defenders in Russian Football and Zenit St. Petersburg. According to the Zenit St. Petersburg website, he started 99 of 100 matches and scored three goals in them.
Since Anyukov is in his 30's, he is expected to serve as a transition towards a newer generation of Russian players during Euro 2012.
Alexei Berezutski: Defender
According to the CSKA Moscow website, Alexei Berezutski is in his 30's and scored eight goals within 372 matches. He will probably be a transitional figure in Euro 2012.
Vladimir Granat: Defender
Vladimir Granat was chosen by Russian Football manager Dick Advocaat as a provisional member of the squad for Euro 2012. Yet it remains to be seen if Granat will be a permanent member of the roster.
Magomed Ozodev: Midfielder
Roman Pavlyuchenko: Forward
Artem Dzyuba: Forward
Roman Sharonov: Defender
Roman Sharonov is a defender for FC Rubin Kazan and possibly the Russian side for Euro 2012. While Roman Sharonov scored one goal within 31 matches during the 2011-2012 Russian Premier League (according to ESPN Soccernet), he could still serve as another transition figure in Euro 2012.
It should serve as a reminder that the 2011-2012 Russian Premier League was the longest season in football history. The season started in March 2011 and ended in May 2012 to transition Russia to the season as played in Europe from August to May.
The following was a prediction on the leading 11 men for the Russian squad based on a personal opinion. It remains to be seen how Advocaat will unveil the official Russian squad for Euro 2012.