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Dzyuba to lead Russian national football team as captain at 2020 UEFA Euro Cup qualifiers

In June, the Russian squad is playing two 2020 Euro Cup qualifiers - against San Marino in Saransk and against Cyprus in Nizhny Novgorod

NOVOGROSK /Moscow Region/, May 31. /TASS/. Russian forward Artyom Dzyuba has been appointed the captain of the national football squad for the next two qualifying matches of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup next month, Head Coach Stanislav Cherchesov said on Friday.

Next month the Russian national squad is playing two 2020 Euro Cup qualifiers - against San Marino in Saransk on June 8 and against Cyprus in Nizhny Novgorod on June 11.

"Dzyuba is the captain of the team and there has been no changes," Cherchesov told journalists.

The 30-year-old forward was appointed the captain of the team in the fall of 2018, after the previous captain of the Russian national football team, goalkeeper Igor Akenfeev, announced his decision to wrap up with the sports career in the national squad.

The head coach also said it was impossible to classify the 2020 Euro Cup qualifying matches of the national team into the so-called ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’ ones.

"We must continue working and training and this is why we cannot appeal to such categories, which define matches as the easy ones," Cherchesov stated. "The previous two matches against the teams of Belgium and Kazakhstan had been rumored to difficult ones."

"This is neither difficult nor easy for us, it is in fact a decided matter, and we had to be preparing properly for them, and now we have to prepare properly for the next two matches as well," he said. "We cannot categorize matches into easy and difficult ones."

The Russian national team gathered at the training camp in the Moscow Region town of Novogorsk on May 30 and the current roster lists 28 players, instead of previously announced 30.

According to media reports on Wednesday, Vladislav Ignatyev from the Lokomotiv Moscow football club was unable to join the national team due to an earlier sustained injury, while Nikolai Komlichenko, who plays as a forward for the Czech football club Mlada Boleslav, would join the national squad in a couple of days.

Cherchesov also told journalists that the coaching staff decided to summon four goalkeepers to the national team ahead of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup qualifiers next month.

The four goalkeepers, who are currently on the roster of the Russian national team: Marinato Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow FC); Andrei Lunev (Zenit St. Petersburg FC); Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moscow FC) and Sergei Pesyakov (Rostov FC).

"We have summoned four goalkeepers, because if we happened to summon three and one of them fell ill, we would have to call another one from the islands and it would be wrong," Cherchesov said.

The draw on December 2, 2018 in Dublin determined 10 groups for the qualifying stage. The Russian national team was placed in Group I alongside with the teams from Belgium, Kazakhstan, Scotland, Cyprus and San Marino. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the major European football championship.

The Russian squad is currently 2nd in its Group I with three points after playing two matches - against Belgium on March 21 (losing 1-3) and Kazakhstan on March 24 (winning 4-0).

The national football team from Russia is also scheduled to play two more 2020 UEFA Euro Cup qualifiers in September - against Scotland in Glasgow on September 6 and against Kazakhstan on September 9 in Kaliningrad.