Russia keep faith with old guard for qualifiers

MOSCOW - Russia coach Dick Advocaat stuck to using experienced players for next month's Euro 2012 qualifiers at home to Macedonia and Ireland by naming an unchanged 20-man squad on Friday.

"I just don't like to change players for the sake of making a change," said the Dutchman, who has been criticised by Russian media for overlooking talented young players in favour of the old guard, many of whom had played at Euro 2008.

"Honestly, I don't think I should change anything especially after a win," he said, referring to a 1-0 victory over Serbia in last week's friendly.

Advocaat said he expected everyone to be in good physical condition, including forwards Andriy Arshavin and Alexander Kerzhakov, after they suffered injuries against the Serbs.

Arshavin suffered a cut above his eye following a clash of heads with an opposing player while Kerzhakov had an ankle injury.

"Injuries to [defender Alexander] Anyukov and Kerzhakov seem to be minor and Arshavin should also be feeling fine," Advocaat said. "I hope all our players will arrive match-fit."

Russia, level on points with Ireland and Slovakia at the top of Group B, host Macedonia on September 2 before facing the Irish at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium four days later.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeyev (CSKA Moscow), Vyacheslav Malafeyev (Zenit St Petersburg)

Defenders: Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Alexei Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Vasily Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Yuri Zhirkov (Anzhi Makhachkala), Alexander Anyukov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow)

Midfielders: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Everton), Konstantin Zyryanov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (Zenit St Petersburg), Igor Denisov (Zenit St Petersburg), Igor Semshov (Dynamo Moscow), Alan Dzagoyev (CSKA Moscow), Dmitry Torbinsky (Lokomotiv Moscow), Denis Glushakov (Lokomotiv Moscow)

Forwards: Andrei Arshavin (Arsenal), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham Hotspur), Pavel Pogrebnyak (VfB Stuttgart), Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenit St Petersburg).


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