Following the appointment of former England manager Fabio Capello, Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak international days looked to be over after failing to be included in any of Capello’s international selections since his arrival. However with around a month to go before the beginning of the Brazil World Cup, the Reading’s strikers time of the sidelines seem to be over as Capello looks to experience in his inclusion for this summers competition. Many have questioned the inclusion after an underwhelming season for the Reading striker, netting in only a third of his appearances for the second tier side scoring 13 times in 39 games, but Capello has decided that Pogrebnyak is the right man for the job. However there is still doubts as to whether the 30 year old striker will make the final 23 as he faces stiff competition from both Alexander Kokorin and Kerzhakov who have regularly excelled internationally for Russia and may be a little more of a reliable option upfront.
As expected, both Andrei Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko miss out on the 30 man provisional squad with both struggling to get regular game time this season, whilst former Everton midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov also misses out after recently suffering relegation with Anzhi Makhachkala following a loan move from Spartak Moskva. Fedor Smolov, despite featuring regularly under Fabio Capello misses out but there is a space for Artem Dzyuba, the second top scorer in the Russian league after joining Rostov on loan from Spartak Moskva. The ever reliable CSKA Moskva shot stopper Igor Akinfeev and fellow team mate Ignashevich are two of seven players that featured in the Russia squad which reached the latter stages of Euro 2008 and Russia will look to mirror such achievements this summer under Capello’s leadership. Inevitably, Russia like many other countries in the same position will have to decide on a final 23 by the start of June before they begin their World Cup campaign in Group H where they will face Belgium, South Korea and Algeria in their first appearance in the World Cup finals in 12 years.
Fabio Capello’s 30 man provisional squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Lodygin (Zenit St Petersburg), Sergey Ryzhikov (Rubin Kazan)
Defenders: Alexander Anyukov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexey Berezutskiy (CSKA Moscow), Vasili Berezutskiy (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Granat (Dynamo Moscow), Andrey Eshchenko (Anzhi Makhachkala), Sergey Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Alexey Kozlov (Dynamo Moscow), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Andrey Semenov (Terek Grozny), Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moscow)
Midfielders: Vladimir Bystrov (Anzhi Makhachkala), Yury Gazinskiy (Krasnodar), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Zhirkov (Dynamo Moscow), Alexey Ionov (Dynamo Moscow), Pavel Mogilevets (Rubin Kazan), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Victor Faizulin (Zenit St Petersburg), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (Krasnodar)
Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Rostov), Maxim Kanunnikov (Amkar Perm), Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Dynamo Moscow), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading)