Moscow (AFP) – Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov handed youngsters Fyodor Chalov and Alexander Tashayev their first-ever call-ups as he named an initial 28-man squad for his country’s home World Cup.
The 20-year-old Chalov has scored six goals in just nine league starts this season for CSKA Moscow, while Tashayev, 23, has had a breakthrough season for Dynamo Moscow.
Russia have recently lost Spartak full-back Georgi Dzhikiya, CSKA defender Viktor Vasin and Zenit St Petersburg striker Alexander Kokorin to serious cruciate knee ligament injuries, while Spartak Moscow goalkeeper Alexander Selikhov has ruptured his Achilles tendon.
Cherchesov recalled Villarreal midfielder Denis Cheryshev and Arsenal Tula forward Artem Dzyuba — on loan from Zenit — for the World Cup warm-up matches with Austria in Innsbruck on May 30 and against Turkey at Moscow’s VEB Arena on June 5.
There were also places for former German youth internationals Roman Neustadter and Konstantin Rausch, who joined Dynamo Moscow in January.
“We are at the home stretch,” Cherchesov said.
“We need to determine and choose the players who are ready to meet the challenge that we’ve set for our team at the World Cup.”
Russia open the World Cup against Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14, before further Group A matches against Egypt in St Petersburg on June 19 and Uruguay in Volgograd on June 25.
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Brugge/BEL), Soslan Dzhanaev (Rubin Kazan), Andrei Lunev (Zenit St Petersburg)
Defenders: Vladimir Granat, Ruslan Kambolov, Fyodor Kudryashov (all Rubin Kazan), Ilya Kutepov (Spartak Moscow), Roman Neustadter (Fenerbahce/TUR), Konstantin Rausch (Dynamo Moscow), Andrei Semyonov (Akhmat Grozny), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg), Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moscow)
Midfielders: Yury Gazinsky (Krasnodar), Alan Dzagoev, Alexander Golovin (both CSKA Moscow), Alexander Erokhin, Yury Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev (all Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Zobnin, Alexander Samedov (both Spartak Moscow), Anton Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Alexander Tashyev (Dynamo Moscow), Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal/ESP)
Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Arsenal Tula), Alexei Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar), Fyodor Chalov (CSKA Moscow)
Goalkeeper: Marinato Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Defenders: Vladislav Ignatiev (Lokomotiv Moscow), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow)
Midfielders: Anton Shvets (Akhmat Grozny), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow)
Forwards: Anton Zabolotny, Dmitry Poloz (both Zenit St Petersburg)