Russia Euro 2012 Roster: Analyzing the Team's Starting 11 and More

John RichardsonCorrespondent IJune 5, 2012

Russia Euro 2012 Roster: Analyzing the Team's Starting 11 and More

0 of 12

    Russia was the surprise package of Euro 2008 reaching the semifinal before crashing out to eventual champions Spain.

    Prospects of another successful tournament in Poland and Ukraine aren't so good, although the draw has been kind to them.

    Russia will kick off the tournament on June 8, against the Czech Republic before facing hosts Poland, and finishing out the group stage in Warsaw against 2004 winners Greece.

    With a good mix of experience and young blood in the squad, manager Dick Advocaat has every right to believe that his team can progress to the quarterfinals where they would likely face either the Netherlands, Germany or Portugal.

    Pick your poison.

    With the exception of Marat Izmailov and Pavel Pogrebnyak, who ply their trade with Sporting CP and Fulham respectively, the entirety of the squad is made up of Russian Premier League players.

    This should give Russia the edge in terms of team chemistry but not necessarily their level of play.

    Here I will analyze the players that Russia hopes will stun the world in its European Cup campaign.

Igor Akinfeev

1 of 12

    Age: 26

    Club: CSKA Moscow

    Position: Goalkeeper

    At the tender age of 26, Akinfeev still has his best years ahead of him.

    He received his first cap for the national side in 2004 and has since gone on to make more than 50 appearances for his country.

    In 2009 Akinfeev was heavily linked with a move away from Russia in favor of becoming Edwin van der Sar's replacement at Manchester United.

    CSKA were able to maintain their star net minder on that occasion, but another stellar performance at the Euro should see him exit the Moscow club for one of Europe's elite.

Yuri Zhirkov

2 of 12

    Age: 28

    Club: Anzhi Makhachkala

    Position: Left Back

    The versatile ex Chelsea man gives manager Dick Advocaat the option of playing him in either a left back or left midfield role for Russia at this year's Euro.

    Known for his pace and crossing abilities, he can provide the necessary width to Russia's attack while still ably accomplishing his defensive duties.

    Capped 52 times for the national side, Zhirkov will certainly be one of the more experienced players on the pitch come June 8.

Aleksei Berezutski

3 of 12

    Age: 29

    Club: CSKA Moscow

    Position: Center Back

    The imposing 6'3" frame of this man will be key to Russia's progression at Euro 2012.

    He has been with CSKA since the age of 19 and has played 256 times in all competitions.

    Another experienced campaigner with the national team, Berezutski will hope to make a big impact at perhaps his final major international tournament.

    He is a defender by trade, but is capable of getting into the attacking third and scoring some quality goals.

Sergei Ignashevich

4 of 12

    Age: 32

    Club: CSKA Moscow

    Position: Center Back

    The most tried and tested member of the Russian squad with a total of 72 caps is Sergei Ignashevich.

    He is commonly referred to as the top defender in Russia and can adeptly fill a center defensive midfield role or either full back position.

    Ignashevich will hope to lead his team from the back, but like his cohort Berezutski, has a keen eye for goal.

Aleksandr Anyukov

5 of 12

    Age: 29

    Club: Zenit Saint Petersburg

    Position: Right Back

    This rugged veteran defender completes Russia's formidable back line.

    Anyukov enjoys overlapping his wingers and when given the opportunity can strike a ball emphatically with his right boot.

    He played every minute of every game at Euro 2008, and will be sure to put in an equally hard-nosed performance at this years tournament.

Marat Izmailov

6 of 12

    Age: 29

    Club: Sporting Lisbon

    Position: Right Midfield

    Izmailov is back in the Russian national setup after a five-year absence from the side.

    The right sided midfielder will be the only player to start for Russia who plies his trade outside of the domestic league.

    His dizzying speed and skill will surely tie opposing defenders in knots, while his shot from distance is also a force to be reckoned with.

    He will likely fit into Russia's 4-3-2-1 formation as one of the two central attacking midfielders.

Igor Denisov

7 of 12

    Age: 28

    Club: Zenit Saint Petersburg

    Position: Center Midfield

    Denisov will be the rock in Russia's midfield, playing a more defensive-minded position behind the two attacking midfielders.

    While his offensive presence will be somewhat limited by the formation, Igor is more than capable of springing up with a goal or two.

    He is relatively inexperienced at the international level with only 26 caps, but has had an impressive club career with Zenit making 231 appearances.

    In 2008 Denisov refused the chance to be a part of Russia's provisional squad for the Euro, but has seemingly solidified his starting spot for this year's tournament.

Roman Shirokov

8 of 12

    Age: 30

    Club: Zenit Saint Petersburg

    Position: Center Midfield

    Yes, another Zenit player.

    Shirokov has a knack for getting forward and scoring goals like he showed in Russia's 3-0 drubbing of Italy in their final tune up match before Euro 2012.

    He has had a scattered club career, playing for ten clubs in his time as a professional.

    His career with the national side only really blossomed in the latter stages of his playing days. He currently has 22 caps to his name but will surely get a few more in the coming weeks.

Konstantin Zyryanov

9 of 12

    Age: 34

    Club: Zenit Saint Petersburg

    Position: Center Midfield

    It seems as though the entire three in the 4-3-2-1 is made up of Zenit players.

    This tough-tackling midfielder is the oldest member of the starting lineup at the age of 34, but still commands the respect of opposing teams.

    He has 50 caps for the national side, and scored the game deciding goal in Russia's 1-0 win over Euro 2012 opponents, Greece, at Euro 2008.

    His leadership and hardworking mentality will provide a blueprint for the younger players on the squad hoping to burst onto the scene at this year's tournament.

Andrei Arshavin

10 of 12

    Age: 31

    Club: Zenit Saint Petersburg (loaned from Arsenal)

    Position: Wing/Forward

    Talismanic captain and No. 10 Andrei Arshavin will hope to recapture some of the form that made him so potent at Euro 2008.

    His £15 million transfer to Arsenal in the summer of 2008 thrust him into the limelight of the Premier League, where he scored a respectable 23 goals for the North London club.

    Arshavin's form dipped at the start of the 2011 season. He scored only two goals, one of which came in the league cup.

    He has since been loaned out to his previous club Zenit, in a move that has seemingly revitalized his career.

    His role with Russia at Euro 2012 will be to get back to what he does best: running at defenders and creating chances for his grateful comrades.

Aleksandr Kerzhakov

11 of 12

    Age: 29

    Club: Zenit Saint Petersburg

    Position: Forward

    The lone man up front for Russia at Euro 2012 will be Zenit's Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

    However, don't expect to see him lazily jogging around in a hopeless effort to take on four defenders by himself.

    Kerzhakov will drop deep into the midfield and look to link up with the likes of Arshavin and Izmailov.

    He was controversially left out of Guus Hiddink's Euro 2008 squad, and this time around will be looking to prove that he could have been the difference four years ago.

    Capped 61 times by Russia, he is one of the most experienced members of the team.

Dick Advocaat

12 of 12

    Age: 64

    Manager Dick Advocaat is due to resign after Euro 2012, bringing his two year stint with Russia to a halt. 

    The Dutchman has led the team to the Euro in impressive style. A record of 7-2-1 was enough to see them gain automatic qualification.

    Advocaat is a practiced coach having managed the Netherlands, South Korea, Belgium, along with Zenit Saint Petersburg when they triumphed in the 2008 UEFA Cup Final.

    With a squad made up of seven players from that Zenit side, the working relations between the manager and his footballers should be just like old times.

    However, if Advocaat plans on going all the way this year, he's going to have to conjure up something special.