In the latest Russia news, midfielder Alan Dzagoev has confirmed he will be fit and ready to return from injury for his side’s big clash against Croatia in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
The playmaker was expected to be a key figure for the hosts this summer but he got injured in their first game against Saudi Arabia.
Dzagoev played just 23 minutes before suffering a hamstring injury and he was expected to not feature again in the tournament.
However, the hosts produced the goods to book their spot in the last 16 and they then beat Spain on penalties on Sunday to move into the last eight.
Russia are looking to secure their spot in a World Cup semi-final for the first time in 50 years but they will be the underdogs ahead of the game at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.
Dzagoev missed training on Wednesday due to a back problem but the CSKA Moscow star insists he is good to go ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Croatia.
“It was an old back injury. It was a bit jammed. Today I was training in a main group. Everything is fine. I am ready for the game,” Dzagoev told reporters.
Sceptics have claimed Russia have already reached their peak but Dzagoev is adamant anything can happen this weekend.
He added: “(Coach) Stanislav Salamovich (Cherchesov) will tell us closer to the game how we are going to play. So far we have some draft ideas.
“We had fine games with Saudi Arabia and with Egypt as well as with Spain. Maybe we did not show our level with Uruguay but I hope we will manage to show our level against Croatia.”
A Russia win is available at odds of 27/10 with Ladbrokes, while the draw is 2/1, with Croatia the 6/5 favourites.