MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. Russian national football team’s coach Sergey Balakhnin told TASS on Friday it was a planned measure to summon to the national squad Brazil-born goalkeeper Marinato Guilherme.
The 30-year-old goalkeeper, who was granted the Russian citizenship last November, was included on Friday in the preliminary roster of the national football team for friendly matches against Lithuania and France in late March.
"We can say that it was a planned measure to call Guilherme," Balakhnin said in an interview with TASS. "The goalkeeper received a Russian passport, we have been long following his matches and now we want to try him out."
Russian goalkeepers Igor Akinfeyev, Stanislav Kritsyuk and Yury Lodygin were also included in the preliminary roster along with Guilherme.
Commenting earlier in the day on his call to the national team, Guilherme told journalists: "I can say that I am extremely happy."
"I simply want to use this chance, to help the team and to feel myself as Russian. This is in my heart," Guilherme, who is currently goaltending for Russia’s Lokomotiv Moscow football club, said.
As part of its preparations for the UEFA Euro Cup 2016 championship, the Russian national football squad is scheduled to play a home friendly match with Lithuania at the Otkritie-Arena in Moscow on March 26 and an away friendly fixture against France at Stade de France Arena on March 29.
The 2016 UEFA Euro Cup will be held in France between June 10 and July 10 with matches to be played in 10 different locations, namely in Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.
A total of 24 European national teams qualified for the Euro Cup final tournament in 2016, after the contestants’ format, which was used since 1996, was decided to be extended from 16 to 24 teams.
The contesting teams were divided into six groups and Russia was placed into Group B, sharing it with the teams from England, Wales and Slovakia.