Russia coach Dick Advocaat is getting his first full look at his squad ahead of the Euros as the players are at a training camp in Moscow. The Dutchman already has selection problems before he names his final 23.
It was the hottest day of the year in Moscow with temperatures rising to almost 30 degrees. And Dick Advocaat is feeling the heat more than most – as he has a number of dilemmas ahead of him.
Firstly, he has to thin his squad down to 23 players, while there are also questions concerning his side's defense.
Vasily Berezutsky was a sure starter for the national team, who are not blessed with great central defenders. But a muscle twist cost him dearly as he has no time to recover and prepare in full for the tournament.
However, keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev emphasizes it's up to the team to try and make up for Berezutsky's loss.
Vasily's absence opens the door for a number of other players. Before the injury, Vladimir Granat and Roman Sharonov were vying for one place, but now both are almost certain to be on the plane to Poland. So is Vasily’s twin brother Aleksey, who is likely to make the starting line-up.
There were only 24 players on the training pitch on Monday as they posed for their team photo. However, that number is soon going to rise to 25, with Marat Izmailov resisting pressure from his club Sporting Lisbon to stay to film an advertisement. He will arrive to join up with the Russian national team after a four-year absence in the country’s first men.
With under a week to go till Advocaat has to name his final squad for the Euros, pressure on the players to perform and impress the Dutchman is certainly gaining momentum. D-Day for some of them will be on Friday, May 25, when Dick Advocaat’s charges will take on South American champs Uruguay in Moscow.
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