Team: Russia

FIFA Ranking: 19

Their’s was a campaign where they had to prove their worth as they were pitted against the likes of Portugal. Though they never had a perfect run leading to Brazil 2014, Fabio Capello’s squad needed a point in their last match to secure top spot on their qualifying table.

Russia could prove a mountain to climb for any opponent, given their solid defence.

FIFA World Cup history

1958: Russia were booted in the quarterfinal stages in Sweden
1962; 1970: History repeated itself. Russia couldn’t go past the quarters in both Chile and Mexico respectively.
1966, England: Russia secured third place
1994 and 2002: First round elimination

Key players

Roman Shirokov
Victor Fayzulin
Igor Akinfeev
Sergey Ignashevich

Coach: Fabio Capello

Under his belt, he boost successful tenures at Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid.

He also coached the England national team. With the largest percentage of wins, Capello is the best coach to have mentored the England team.

He has been in charge of the Russia national team since July 2012.

Country Profile
Russia is the largest country in the world in area and has a rich history. It shares borders with countries including China, Ukraine, North Korea and Norway. The country has a population of over 143 million. Over eighty percent of the population is Russian and other ethnic groups include the Tatars, Ukrainian, Chuvash, Bashkir, Belarusian and Moldavian. Russian is the official language as English is used as a second language. Other languages include Ukrainian, Chuvas, Mordvin, Chechen and Tartar.

The Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religious group in the country making over 75% of the population. Catholism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Budaism are other religions found in the country. Ballet is popular in Russia. The country is the home world renowned composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovskyr who produced “Swan Lake”.

Basketball, ice hockey and soccer are popular sporting codes in the country. The capital of the country Moscow is the largest city in the country. Other famous cities in Russia include Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinbug and Novosibirsk.

Education in the country is mostly provided by the government. Russia has one of the best education systems in the world. The country’s literacy rate is almost 100 %. Russia is rich with natural resources and is one of the leading oil producers.

Full name: Russian Federation
Population: 142.7 million (UN, 2012)
Capital: Moscow
Area: 17 million sq km (6.6 million sq miles)
Major language: Russian
Major religions: Christianity, Islam
Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 75 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 rouble = 100 kopecks
Main exports: Oil and oil products, natural gas, wood and wood products, metals
GNI per capita: US $10,650 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .ru
International dialling code: +7

– By Tshepo Tsheole and Lerato Matlaka