Russia leave injured captain Roman Shirokov at home

Midfielder unable to shake off injury ahead of 2-0 friendly win over Morocco

Roman Shirokov (left) has been ruled out of the World Cup with an Achilles injury. Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov / EPA

Roman Shirokov (left) has been ruled out of the World Cup with an Achilles injury. Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov / EPA

 

Russia captain Roman Shirokov has been ruled out of this month’s World Cup in Brazil because of an Achilles tendon injury and replaced in the squad by Pavel Mogilevets

The 32-year-old midfielder, who finished the Russian domestic season on loan at FC Krasnodar from Zenit St. Petersburg, suffered the injury in a game against Lokomotiv Moscow on April 26th and has not played since.

After joining up with the national squad Shirokov underwent an individual training programme and had told a press conference on Thursday that the injury had “almost healed”.

However, he has suffered a relapse, according to coach Fabio Capello.

“Shirokov plays a big role in the team but now others have the opportunity to show what they are capable of doing,” the Italian told reporters after their 2-0 World Cup warm-up win against Morocco on Friday. “I am one of those people who believes that the glass is always half full.

“Shirokov will fly to Finland on Monday for an operation. We decided this would be the best case scenario this morning.”

His replacement, 21-year-old Mogilevets, who spent part of last season on loan at Rubin Kazan from Zenit, was named in the initial 30-man squad and was due to travel to Brazil as standby despite not making the final 23-man squad.

According to tournament rules, any team is able to make changes to their squad in the event of injury, after a Fifa medical committee has assessed the injury and deemed it genuine.

Mogilevets made his debut for the senior team as a substitute in a friendly match against Slovakia in May and becomes the youngest member of the Russian squad.

Capello is confident the youngster is an able replacement and believes his squad are improving ahead of the tournament.

“I am sure about the footballers that I have called-up,” the Italian said. “Over the course of these three friendlies, step by step, we are becoming sharper and the players are getting a better understanding amongst themselves.

“We will travel to Brazil in good spirits.”

Capello’s side have been drawn in Group H alongside Belgium, Algeria and South Korea who they play in their tournament opener in Cuiaba on June 17th.

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