The team: Unsurprisingly with Italian coach Fabio Capello at the helm, this current Russia team is built on strong defensive foundations. This was evident during qualifying when they conceded just five goals in ten games. But this was coupled with an attacking edge, as the Russians scored 20 goals to top their group ahead of the more-fancied Portuguese.
The coach: Fabio Capello
After his largely uninspiring spell as England coach, it’s easy to forget Fabio Capello’s previous glittering achievements, including four Serie A titles and the Champions League with AC Milan, one Serie A title with Roma and two La Liga crowns with Real Madrid. He has a contract to coach Russia until the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be staged in Russia, so he will want to impress in Brazil.
Key player: Sergey Ignashevich
Veteran CSKA Moscow defender Sergey Ignashevich expertly marshalled the back-line during qualifying, and will be called upon to do the same in Brazil. Nearing 100 caps for Russia, his experience is invaluable.
World ranking: 18
World Cup appearances: 9
Previous best: Fourth place in 1966
Qualification: Winner of group
Form (qualifiers): WWWWLLWWWD
Fixtures: June 18 vs. Korea Republic; June 22 vs. Belgium; June 27 vs. Algeria