Russia's Yury Zhirkov, right, and Romania's Dorin Rotariu fight for the ball during an international friendly soccer match between Russia and Romania in Grozny, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Denis Tyrin)
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MOSCOW: Soul-searching following Russia's miserable performance at the 2016 Euro led to one inescapable conclusion: The squad has a long way to go to avoid humiliation on home turf at the 2018 World Cup.Russian Cherchesov, 53, selected rookie-filled squads for his first friendlies as head coach, calling up 22-year-old Roman Zobnin, as well as 23-year-old Ilya Kutepov of Spartak Moscow.Despite efforts to rejuvenate his squad, Cherchesov has a limited pool from which to select his players – an issue exacerbated by structural problems in Russian football.Russia have tried to fill the gaps on their national squad by naturalizing players with Russian roots or veterans of their domestic league.Fresh blood has done little to reinvigorate the team.
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