Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Proposed core national football team in Russia met with mixed reactions

Fabio Capello, the head coach of Russia's national football team, characterized the proposal to form a core national football team which plays regularly prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup as a "beautiful, but utopian idea."

Russian Football Union secretary general Anatoly Vorobyov, however, has been an outspoken proponent of the formation of such a team over the last year and has identified Capello as the natural head coach. Voroboyov believes that the immediate formation of a national football team will create an advantage for Russia during the 2018 World Cup, since players would be well-practiced and accustomed to working together in advance of the games, Itar-Tass reports.

Capello was hired to coach the Russian team last year to prepare the players to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Following the team's failure to advance past the first round of the tournament, sports authorities in Russia have begun to question Russia's preparedness to succeed in the in 2018 World Cup, sparking the proposal to create and train the national team in advance, according to Itar-Tass.

Russia's national football team also failed to qualify for both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup championships in Germany and South Africa, respectively, Itar-Tass reports.

FIFA selected Russia to be the host country of the 2018 World Cup more than three years ago over competing bids from England, Portugal, Spain and a joint bid from Belgium and the Netherlands. The World Cup in Russia will be held across 11 cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Saram, according to Itar-Tass.