This is the 21st time that the Russian Soccer team will be participating in the FIFA World Cup. This year, they not only play in the World Cup [VIDEO] but are also hosting it. Playing on home turf will be easier and that is why they might have the edge in the group stages in the race to qualify for the quarterfinals. Russia's highest ever World Cup position came in 1964 when they finished fourth. They might not be able to get very far this year because of the competitiveness and the existence of a few world powers when it comes to soccer.

Defense

Igor Akinfeev will not only start in goal but also play as captain for Russia in this campaign.

It will be interesting to see how Russia shape at the back, with a three at the back or four at the back. Georgiy Dzhikiya, Roman Neustadter, Fedor Kudryashov, and Ilya Kutepov will fight for starting positions as center backs. We will also see Mario Fernandes, Alexandr Samedov, and Yuriy Zhirkov being rotated as the wing backs depending on form.

Midfield

Russia has many options in the midfield with most of their players having good seasons with their respective clubs. Russia will need to play a mix of experience and youth in order to maximize their effectiveness. Alan Dzagoev, Denis Glushakov, and Dmitri Tarasov are among the veterans that will play centrally in midfield joined by young prospects Alexey Miranchuk and Alexandr Golovin. Russia will only play wingers in the absence of wing backs which might be an unlikely scenario.

Attack

Alexey Miranchuk could play up top if he does not play in the midfield but Russia might go with a two-man strike force in Alexandr Kokorin and Fedor Smolov. The experienced pair will guarantee a few goals against a weaker opponent, but if Russia faces a good defensive side, they might struggle. Additionally, Fedor Smolov might even play the captain in the absence of Igor Akineef.

Expected lineup

Russia looks like an experienced lineup that will try to make the most of having this World Cup on grounds that they are familiar with. The expected starting XI for Russia would be Igor Akinfeev, Georgiy Dzhikiya, Ilya Kutepov, Mario Fernandes, Roman Neustadter, Yuriy Zhirkov, Alan Dzagoev, Alexandr Golovin, Alexey Miranchuk, Alexandr Kokorin, and Fedor Smolov. As Russia has done in their past few games and the qualifiers, they would be expected to play a three at the back and a pair of strikers up top. Russia will also rely on their midfield to deliver on the big stage but they might not make it out of the group stages against Mohamed Salah [VIDEO]'s Egypt and Uruguay.