Russia: Three players to keep an eye on at the 2018 World Cup

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Fyodor Smolov (Forward, 32, Krasnodor)

Russia are going to have to score goals in this tournament to keep up with the likes of Egypt and Uruguay. That responsibility falls on Smolov, who has scored three of Russia’s last four goals and scored 14 goals for Krasnodor in the Russian Premier League. He is also the reigning two-time Russian Player of the Year so the expectation will be on him more so than other players to produce on Group A.

Aleksei and Anton Miranchuk (Midfielder, 22, Lokomotiv Moscow)

Not since Philip and Michael Degan of Switzerland in 2006 have twins played in a World Cup together. Until now. The Miranchuk brothers will not only feature alongside one another in Russia but they also play for the same side in the RPL with Lokomotiv Moscow. Both also play in the midfield which we are sure makes head coach Stanislav Cherchesov lose his hair. In all seriousness though the two brothers are a formidable pair in the midfield and may give sides some headaches.

Igor Akinfeev (Goalkeeper, 32, CSKA Moscow)

With the likes of Luis Suarez and Mohamed Salah in their group Russia are going to face a lot of shots. Thankfully, they have a pretty reliable goalkeeper in Igor Akinfeev to rely upon. Akinfeev has made over 106 appearances for the senior national team, fourth most all-time. With his club side CSKA Moscow he has won four RPL titles and the UEFA Cup so he is more than capable of handling tough situations.

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