Russia will be without captain Roman Shirokov at the World Cup. The midfielder has been ruled out of the tournament with a back injury, which he will have surgery on. Fabio Capello has called up Pavel Mogilevets to replace Shirokov on the roster, but doesn't figure to use the 21-year-old with one cap too much.
Capello's squad was already preparing for the World Cup as if they weren't going to have Shirokov. The captain hadn't played in any of Russia's pre-tournament friendlies and always figured to miss the trip to Brazil.
While Russia would obviously prefer to have their captain, they have plenty of midfield talent and should be fine without him. Igor Denisov, Viktow Fayzulin and Alan Dzagoev give the Russians a plenty good midfield and a chance to make a deep run in Brazil.
Russia are unbeaten in their last 10 matches, including friendly wins over Slovakia, Norway and Morocco in the last two weeks. They are grouped with Belgium, South Korea and Algeria, hardly an easy group, but one that the Russians have a decent chance of getting out of.