Russian Football Federation Blog

February 9th, 2011

Russia vs Iran. Five Things We Learned Today

By: Ivan | Comments 5 Comments

In Russia, no one really gets an idea of a friendly game

First, a creepy show-off in Voronezh and a disgraceful defeat to Belgium team, which has a dreadful flight from Moscow. Now, a lazy performance in front of the empty seats in Abu Dhabi. No experiments, no youngsters, no nothing.

Russian defence is still awful

Terrible backpass from Vasily Berezutskiy and poor defending from Alexander Anyukov, which led to the only goal in the game. Left back position was also a problem as Alexey Berezutskiy and Diniyar Bilylaetdinov were totally off the mark there.

New shirts are pretty

Brand new adidas red shirts are way prettier than the old, brick-coloured ones (or let’s call it what it is, a boiled beetroot-coloured). Dark stars on the chest are good too.

Alexander Kerzhakov has a nice tan

Russian ‘false nine’ hit the target only once, from the free kick, and shot 6 or 7 balls wide. But as his skin shows, Alexander definitely had some good time under the sun.

Pavel Mamaev is the only one who can benefit from that game

CSKA holding midfielder is clinging on every chance Dick Advocaat gave him. Best player in the team, although he had only 45 minutes.

Arshavin in red

February 7th, 2011

A Season of Three Halves… and God Knows How Many Cuts

By: Ivan | Comments 10 Comments

Russian football is ready to switch from old ’spring-autumn’ system to common European schedule, where play starts in August and finishes in May. The transitional season will consist of 30 head-to-head gameweeks with 16 teams followed by separation into two groups of 8 teams each. Group A will define a winner and Champions League/Europa League delegates; group B will host relegation battle. Most of the decisive games will be played by spring 2012, so for the first time in its history, Russian Premier League will crown the champion in May, just before Euro 2012.

2011-12 season formula seems established now, but the real deal lies within the subject of transfers. Don’t let them fool you, Russian football is still more about money than business. Russian clubs can buy good players but they could be up to their necks in debt at the same time. One of the most popular reasons for the financial mess is ‘cut’, a form of bribe from the club or player to agent who makes a deal. Obviously, a longer season (of 3 parts) means more transfer windows – which means more deals, thus cuts – and that’s the part Russian football is going to love.

There seems to be only one problem – FIFA doesn’t allow more than one transfer window during the season, but as it’s transitional, Russian Football Union is keeping hope to help FIFA change their mind. There is one good way to do it, and it always works here.


January 27th, 2011

90 Minutes of Shame: Dmitry Savin, a ‘Russian Andy Gray’

By: Ivan | Comments 3 Comments

While Andy Gray being sexist and can’t figure out a decent apology, Russian football fans keep their eyes on the case of Dmitry Savin, NTV+ pundit for Sunday game between Milan and Cesena. Seems that Savin got into studio drunk and gave away his best during live commentary – joking, rhyming and even singing all over the place. He performed a hit by Alla Pugacheva, Russian pop chanteuse, and that was really terrible.

Obviously few of yours can understand what he was saying so I’ll do some transcription for you.

‘Cesena plays rabbit-style football. Hope they play like an aggressive rabbits but they don’t. Actually, you can be a rabbit and be aggressive too… with teeth, you know’.

‘Fabio Caserta looks like a hillbilly to me. Like a man who raids a village looking for a girl. If he finds one, he’ll stay. If not, he’ll leave’.

‘Ibra with the ball. Well, Ibra, show us what you got, you’re a DJ! Show us your new tricks, Ibra, you’re gay! Well, not gay, but IBRA!’

Savin wasn’t fired but NTV+ dropped him from the schedule so we’ll probably never hear him again.

January 25th, 2011

FC Krasnodar, a Club That Always Gets Away With a Promotion

By: Ivan | Comments 1 Comment

Time flies but Russian Premier League stays the same. Nonsense is still very much welcomed here as today it has been announced that FC Krasnodar will take top-flight spot of dismissed Saturn Ramenskoe. It’s not bad per se; obviously, Premier League needs 16 teams to compete. It’s just that FC Krasnodar always gets a promotion for free.

The club was founded in late 2007 by Russian retail billioner Sergey Galitsky and entered Second Division (third tier) in 2008. They finished third in the first year but got a promotion because another clubs weren’t financially able to compete at the higher level. Then they’ve spent two years in First Division and were fifth last season. Two clubs were promoted the usual way, but when Saturn called it quits it turned out that neither FC Nizhny Novgorod (3rd place) nor KAMAZ (4th) can fill the gap. So FC Krasnodar stepped in.

The good thing is that FC Krasnodar is one of very rare examples of privately-owned Russian football club. They have their own very modern training camp and football academy. They attract a decent audience (by Russian standards – don’t laugh) of 6,520 visitors in average. They have signed a deal with Kappa and their jerseys are by far the best in Russian football. And if they’re unlucky to get relegated from Premier League this season, this wouldn’t be a financial problem, this would be for real – for the first time in the club’s history.

fc krasnodar

December 7th, 2010

Russia reacts to hosting the World Cup with joy & sorrow

By: Stanislav Rynkevich | Comments Add Comments

Photo: RIA Novosti / Georgy Kurolesin

As FIFA president Sepp Blatter was opening the cover, people from all over the biggest country on Earth hold their breath. It could be the first time for Eastern Europe to hold such big football event. Just 4 years after the Olympics. «Russia» was written on the unraveled list. Shouts of joy and happiness filled the conference room, and somewhere far away from Switzerland people were congratulating each other. But as every coin has two sides, this victory found it’s own difficulties.

«This is a present that was given not for previous successes and not as a reward for contribution to football history. This present is undeserved in many ways, unexpected and because of that, generously pleasant», wrote Evgeny Dzichkovsky in central Russian sports newspaper «Sport-Express». «I want to say thank you, and I know to whom. But I can’t figure out – for what. We got no idea what we’ve been put into. It’s very difficult to steal an elephant because you can’t hide him. Even more difficult to get World Cup when all you have is passion for it and, well, money. You can’t hold World Cup for a moment to think about. You have to organize it».

«Undeserved» was the key word at Russian blogosphere that week. Only one complete stadium («Luzhniki» that held Champions League final), bizarre infrastructure and 8 years left. Good question was – what would Saransk and Podolsk do with 40,000 capacity stadiums after the World Cup? There are no premier league teams in those cities. Although even the most popular team in Russia – Spartak Moscow – attracts a little more than 20,000 in average.

«You play football at stadiums, just so you know, and we have only one stadium of this level so far. We must rebuild it or start from scratch in 8 years», added radio «Echo of Moscow» observer Anton Orech. «On the other hand, if there wasn’t a World Cup we would never build it in 80 years. And we are forced to do it. And I’m sure that we will because heroic rush is a part of our lifestyle». You can imagine a picture of NFL running back rushing to the opponent’s end zone at the very last minute, and on the shirt of this guy there’s a sign: «I gave Putin my word». That’s pretty much the picture of Russia preparing for World Cup 2018.

The speech of Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko became hugely popular at his homeland because of Mutko’s very strong stereotypical accent. It sounded as he was inspired by every single bad Hollywood action movie. Arnold Schwarznegger who said famous line «kakie vashi dokozatelstva?» («what are your proofs?» but this doesn’t make sense in Russian due to it’s structure) in «Red Heat» was revenged by Vitaly Mutko and the message «from his heart». Suddenly a DJ mix of his speech appeared and don’t get me started on all the Photoshop things.

Hosting the World Cup is very different from playing the World Cup. Because a football team works hard at first and that leads to victory. And football country wins at first and that leads to hard work. Russia has just sensed that feeling.

November 20th, 2010

Zenit Claims Title; The Year of St. Petersburg

By: Roman | Comments 2 Comments
Zenit Hooligans

Zenit Hooligans

The blue-and-whites win this years season league title just as many have predicted. The team has one more match to spare, having just played an away match in Kazan concluding the score to be a stalemate (2-2). So…who is this year’s Zenit hero? Could it be Kerzhakov, Bukharov, Danny, or Bruno Alves? No, in my mind it is the former boss of AS Roma, Luciano Spalletti, Italy’s tactical mastermind. His 4-2-3-1 formation defines the game of football in the Russian league with only two losses. Early buys such as Kerzhakov and Bukharov set the offensive mindset, while Bruno Alves and partner Anyukov kept the defense just as important. I doubt hardly anybody us surprised at Zenit’s title win this year, considering the massive amounts of money being given to them by the Russian gas giant, Gazprom.

General Zenito

General Zenito

CSKA Moscow with a great run this year jumped up to second place to complete the season, while Rubin of Kazan takes control of third. Spartak Moscow and Lokomotiv finish fourth and fifth while Dynamo finishes a disappointing 7th place with such buys such as Voronin and Kevin Kuranyi. FC Rostov with a weak and powerless squad manages to prove themselves good enough to clinch on to an 8th place but little else is surprising.

Sibir’ Novosibirsk could gain only 4 wins and 7 draws to spot them the last place to have them regulated down below. FK Amkar-Perm and Alania Vladikavkaz both contain 29 points and Anzhi Makhachkala from Dagestan along with Krylya Sovetov both nabbed 30 points this year; either one of these teams we are now reading about could be relegated by the end of next week’s final games. Considering all of those teams will be fighting for survival, it will be almost as interesting as the first matchday.

So, what was there of interest in the Russian Premier League this season? We have plenty of free kickers such as Alexander Aliyev of Lokomotiv, Molosh, who’s talent is going to be wasted in the lower leagues playing for his Siberian side, and CSKA’s famous Honda. I’ve noticed that this time around (not that it was ever different in any season of the Russian Premier League) that most of the teams have an inconsistent squad. For example, Dynamo Moscow has a great offense and a midfield but the defense is just mediocre. The same can be said with Lokomotiv. They have a diamond of an offense (comparable to Zenit or CSKA), but again, the defense is just not good enough. Few teams in the Russian Premier League have a consistency of a squad such as Zenit, CSKA, Rubin or even FC Rostov (who’s squad just doesn’t even have a great offense, midfield, or defense but just is completely average). Just something to keep in mind. One really important thing to all that play FIFA, it’s about damn time they added the Russian League on the PS3/XBOX 360/PC versions.

Molosh from Sibir

Aliyev’s goal from afar

Keisuke scoring one


The game of the season (so far at least) was the match played in Khimki. CSKA Moscow played against Spartak from Moscow as well. CSKA played early on with a 10-man squad and were losing 1-0. Honda gave life to CSKA after he headbutted the Jabulani ball into the Spartak goalpost. Seydou Doumbia became the real hero in the match putting it into the net to lead the score.

Final note; Since it’s getting really close to the end of the season, 2010 was a horrible year for Russian football and by that I’m not talking about the Russian league. Russia sports-wise had dropped so low. We managed to not qualify for the World Cup in South Africa even though we out-talented Slovenia, lowered in the FIFA rankings, and the damn hockey team in the Olympics managed to lose 3-7 to the Canadians (which is a record!). Not only did the team lose to Canada, but Russian coach Bykov made the players promise to win the 2010 hockey championships which again featured all of the players such as Malkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and many more only to gain second place and get beaten by the Czechs! The only thing we had going for us was beach football, and the women’s volleyball team won gold this year. That’s it! Let’s all hope that 2011 will be somewhat of a revival.


November 14th, 2010

Kerzhakov to Liverpool? Bilyaletdinov Linked to Return Home? Rumours to Think About

By: Roman | Comments 6 Comments


In recent news, Zenit’s top-man Kerzhakov has been approached by Roy Hodgson’s struggling Liverpool side from the Barclay’s Premier League. Roy Hodgson, taking charge of a faltered, unconsisting team decides to look in Russia for a player from Zenit. Kerzhakov, who scored two hat-tricks in the last two weeks in the Russian Premier League was approached with interest from the Reds but is unlikely to transfer teams. “The talk about Liverpool is not baseless, the British club came to my agent with a proposal but I did not give an answer.” Kerzhakov told Rossiskaya Gazzetta. The Zenit man is likely to stay considering his team is in top form under Luciano Spalletti and in first place in the Russian league. “I have other things to think about and in all respects I am happy in Russia. My team is in first place in the national championship and I have always said that I wanted to play for Zenit.” The striker popped in 12 goals in the last 26 games including two goals from the last two games for the national team against Ireland and Macedonia and is in deadly top form.

“In the case of Liverpool I will take no initiative, but I can count the fingers on one hand for the amount of clubs I could theoretically go to.

“This is because Zenit is playing beautiful, modern football and the club is growing rapidly. And I am here, at home.”

A clip of Kerzhakov’s goals from this season. Don’t mind the terrible music.

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Frustrated Bilyaletdinov from the People’s Club has been mainly a substitute this season having started only a handful of times. Having played only 31 games from his debut in 2009, Bilyaletdinov is suspected to leave the club and most likely return to his home in Russia.The Ex-Lokomotiv man scored 7 goals since his first game, he will look elsewhere to play. Diniyar “Bily” Bilyaletdinov scored one of his goals against Manchester United, which was voted the best goal of Everton that season. In the future after the leave from Everton, he could most likely be seen playing for his old club “Lokomotiv Moscow”.

Bily from Goodison Park

Bily from Goodison Park

November 3rd, 2010

Russian League in FIFA 11…Finally

By: Roman | Comments 7 Comments
FIFA 11 Game Cover (Sergey Semak on the left)

FIFA 11 Game Cover (Sergey Semak on the left)

This is a quick blog, but about a week ago I was with one of my friends, Andrew, and both of us being avid football fans, we decided to check out FIFA 11. We went to shop and bought the game on impulse and it was probably one of my better buys in a while. I checked out all the leagues in the game. They have the Barclays Premier League, the Serie A, that Spanish league that I don’t care much for and all the usual leagues in every year of FIFA. What was unexpected was they finally have the Russian Premier League. The Russian Premier League was featured in previous FIFA computer games, but never before on console. I checked out the league’s teams and players and they were all rated realistically apart from FC Rostov (them being too overpowered). It’s a joy to play as Alexander Kerzhakov, Seydou Doumbia or hitman Vagner Love in the league as they all are star players. So far I’ve played about 20 games and I’m in second place, first being CSKA Moscow who probably have the most stacked squad in the game (Honda, Tosic, Vagner Love, Seydou Doumbia, Akinfeev etc). I’ve actually noticed something interesting too. I compared the in-game team standings in the league (about 20 games played) and they all for the most part represent the real league standings. The good thing is that we can now play the classic rivalry between Zenit and Spartak Moscow without the explosions and the flying limbs. So I thank EA for a game well done. It’s well worth it and not just for the Russian league. Don’t even think about getting PES 2011, FIFA is too much better. Any thoughts?

Vagner Love

Vagner Love

October 26th, 2010

The League Standings Now and Predictions on Relegations

By: Roman | Comments 7 Comments


While it is now finally safe to say who is getting thrown out of the Russian Premier League and who from lower divisions is coming in, accurate predictions can be now made.

Russia’s top teams, Spartak Moscow, Lokomotiv, Zenit, CSKA and Rubin Kazan all are in their proper positions in the league and don’t surprise anyone with their standings. Moscow’s Lokomotiv and Spartak couldn’t have done any better this year in the league. This season both of the teams had new coaches and each had their revival this season. So far Spartak is in 4th and Lokomotiv is in 5th. Spartak purchased some new players, such as Ari while Lokomotiv received one of the best strikers league, Aleksandr Aliyev that helped the Railroaders notably through free-kicks. Rubin Kazan is Rubin Kazan this year. The team has really no star players but through coaching does the team achieve second place. Kazan is disciplined in the Premier League but could do way better in international plays such as the Champions League. Last year’s shock against Barcelona (Rubin Kazan winning 1-2 away) was obviously luck but they were outplayed the whole game and this happens almost every game they play outside the domestic league. Zenit is no shocker either. The richest team in the league features a new Italian coach and new star players. Through coaching, skill and experience earns them first place and will take first place this year is my prediction.

Let’s not forget the other teams in the league. Formerly from first division, FC Rostov are in a surprising 7th place predicted by many before to be in the bottom of the league. FC Rostov are surprising everybody, even their own fans. Dynamo Moscow is in a disappointing 8th place. So far they haven’t had a revival even with a good squad featuring Voronin and Kevin Kuranyi.

The two teams that will get relegated would most definitely be FC Sibir’ Novosibirsk (The team that somehow beat PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League) and Anzhi Makhachkala. Anzhi Makhachkala in their future couple of games are facing heavy opposition are expected to lose and finish in second to last place which will get them relegated.

The two teams from Russia’s First Division that will get promoted to the Premier League are Kuban’ Krasnodar, which were in the Premier League a season ago. Now they are coming back with a big gap on points higher on the rankings than anybody else in the First Division. The other team I predict will be Volga Nizhny Novgorod. They only lost 4 games this season but had many draws. They have an excellent home record, as does Kuban’ Krasnodar and might be entering the Premier League next season if everything is predicted right.

Russian Premier League

1 FC Zenit St. Petersburg 57 (Points)
2 FC Rubin Kazan 51
3 PFC CSKA Moskva 49
4 FC Spartak Moskva 40
5 FC Lokomotiv Moskva 39
6 PFC Spartak Nalchik 39
7 FC Rostov 33
8 FC Dinamo Moskva 33
9 FC Terek Grozny 31
10 FC Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast 28
11 FC Tom Tomsk 27
12 PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara 26
13 FC Anzhi Makhachkala 24
14 FC Alania Vladikavkaz 24
15 FC Amkar Perm 22
16 FC Sibir Novosibirsk 18

FC Volga Attacking

FC Volga Attacking

October 25th, 2010

Why Zenit is Number One Domestically and Beyond

By: Roman | Comments 7 Comments
Luciano Spalletti Arriving in St.Petersburg

Luciano Spalletti Arriving in St.Petersburg

2009 was a big year for Russian giants Zenit Saint-Petersburg. They had new 2010 kits made by Nike, Luciano Spalletti was brought to lead with an artistic Italian style of coaching, and a new handful of star players such as the return of Alexander Kerzhakov, Bukharov, Serbian Danko Lazovic and Lukovic and lastly Portuguese defender Bruno Alves. The squad started to play in Spalletti’s signature 4-2-3-1 formation with a more aggressive-styled offense and a tight and broad defense. The squad did also show hints of former coach Dick Advocaat’s style of play through Portuguese international Danny. With a fresh offense, an open center, and a tight defense, Zenit entered the Russian Premier League as heavy favorites. Setting a number of records already for the Premier League, the Blue-Whites are easily the best team in the country and prove to be the best team in their Europa League group.

Alexander Kerzhakov for Zenit Saint-Petersburg

Alexander Kerzhakov for Zenit Saint-Petersburg

Zenit completely reworked by mastermind Luciano Spalletti thrived in the domestic Russian Premier League by topping first without a single loss to any opposing Russian side. So far to date, the only loss Zenit suffered under Spalletti was against the French AJ Auxerre and this took place in the UEFA Champions League. The first leg against Auxerre played in St. Petersburg was a 1-0 win for the home team although the score could have been wider for both sides. The second leg played in France was a day for the French as they won 2-0 against a 9 man Zenit squad bringing the aggregate to 2-1.

Zenit’s tight defensive and aggressive offensive earned them to be in first place with 57 points in the league, with FC Rubin Kazan trailing with 51 points and CSKA Moscow in third place dangerously close to Kazan with 49 points. Zenit’s successes and wins not only brought them to first place in the league but also had them win the Russian Cup against last-place FC Sibir Novosibirsk from a 60th minute penalty scored by midfielder Roman Shirokov to conclude the score 1-0.

Luciano Spalletti’s method of coaching (Aggressive offense and tight defense) and his signature formation also allow Zenit to be first place in Group G in the Europa League (Formerly known as the UEFA Cup). Zenit St.Petersburg under Dutch trainer Dick Advocaat won the UEFA Cup in 2008 against Scottish Glasgow Rangers. So far Zenit played three games against the opponents in their group (Hajduk Split, AEK Athens and Anderlecht) with an 100% success rate gaining 9 points and topping their group.

With Zenit’s top players such as Kerzhakov, Bukharov, Danny and Bruno Alves in top form and the discipline provided from Luciano Spalletti, my prediction is that the Blue-Whites will finish the Russian Premier League first and will be heavy favorites to not only finish first in Group G in the Europa League, but are the legitimate team to even win the cup.

Zenit's Portuguese Striker Danny Celebrates After Scoring a Goal against Hajduk Split

Zenit's Portuguese Striker Danny Celebrates After Scoring a Goal against Hajduk Split

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