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June 14, 2018

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IGOR Akinfeev, named the hosts’ captain for the World Cup, will be the player to look forward to when Russia take on Saudia Arabia in the tournament’s opener at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday.

Akinfeev, a goalkeeper, has been a full international since 2004 and boasts 100 caps for the national side.

Domestically, the 32-year-old plays for CSKA Moscow and has represented the capital’s side in 500 games, winning six Russian Premier League titles, as many Russian Cups and a UEFA Cup in 2005.

Akinfeev has earned comparisons with legendary Russian goalkeepers Lev Yashin and Rinat Dasayev and is known for being a ‘cool headed’ goalkeeper.

In 2014, Akinfeev overtook Yashin as the goalkeeper with the third-highest number of clean sheets in Russian football.

With Russia being the lowest-ranked side at the World Cup, Akinfeev’s experience will play a significant part throughout the hosts’ campaign.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2018