How far will the hosts go? Despite all the challenges facing them, Russia will go into the World Cup keen to leave their mark. On paper they have every chance of making it out of the group stage, with a relatively ‘easy’ group (though a fit Mo Salah would have something to say about that). The squad features a number of exciting talents, including the Miranchuk brothers (Anton and Aleksei) fresh off a title win with their club Lokomotiv Moscow, and young CSKA midfielder Aleksandr Golovin.
Russia are bringing two unique designs courtesy of adidas. The Russia home shirt harks back to 1988, when they won gold at the Seoul Olympics. It’s clean and refined, and the choice of a brighter red is notable after years of darker, maroon colour palettes. For the Russia away shirt, a square-based pattern runs across the front and sleeves. It’s very retro, clunky and charming in equal measure. You can expect their football to be much the same, but whilst expectations might be muted, it would be wrong to dismiss them just yet.