“With the current game, Russia will not qualify for the 2022 World Cup.” Bilyaletdinov – about Karpin, Dupin and the “courtyard” of Malta

The expert is confident that the national team is capable of reaching a new level in a month.

Russian national team under the leadership of a new head coach Valeria Karpina completed the September qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In three games, the team scored 7 points, but there are questions about the game of the national team.

Former head coach of Rubin Rinat Bilyaletdinov analyzed the meetings of the national team with Croatia (0: 0), Cyprus (2: 0) and Malta (2: 0), explained why Karpin could not decide on the captain in any way, and also talked about the reasons for the inarticulate game with outsiders.

Rinat Bilyaletdinov / photo: Sergey Elagin, BUSINESS Online


– Rinat Sayarovich, the Russian national team has already played three matches with the new head coach. Is there a difference in the play between the teams of Karpin and Cherchesov?

– So far, I have not noticed any special changes in the game, there are only personnel differences. Well Oleksiy Miranchuk’s entrance to the forward position in the match with Croatia is a search for new approaches to the game. The main one is a tilt towards the play from the bottom.… This speeds it up, makes it more attacking, spectacular, and reduces the percentage of rejects.

In the second match we saw a combination from Lokomotiv Fedor Smolov – Rifat Zhemaletdinov. However, it should be understood that a serious test for the national team will come later. You can’t skate the ball with Slovaks and Slovenes, as with Cyprus and Malta. There is no such brave goalkeeper of the Maltese, completely different speeds.

Nevertheless, it is worth looking at the match with the Croats from a special angle. This is not the same team that is the finalist of the World Championship, it is not even a model of the European Championship. There is no group of players from the main squad, for example. But the 3: 0 victory over the Slovaks says a lot, they played differently than against us on September 1.

– The national team refused from the striker-pillar. Is this the right step?

– Not quite clear. The logic of the coaching staff is visible – to speed up the game. But Cherchesov also spoke about this. All specialists pronounce the correct words, however, voicing their desires is one thing, and their realization is another. These plans are mainly implemented by the same players.

Both Cherchesov and Karpin want to achieve results, but in different ways. Again, it depends on the state of the players. Cherchesov’s tactics with three defenders at the World Cup were widely discussed. Russia then showed not the most beautiful game, because there was a focus on the result. Now the game is forgotten, but the result remains.

After that there was a fairly confident selection for Euro, it was repeatedly said about the team’s cohesion, its general mood, the atmosphere was good. And then for some reason everything rolled down. Now a new head coach, a new hurray hurray. But when we start not to score two Malta with a creak, but play on equal terms with the Croats, then we can say about some changes for the better. So far, only attempts are visible. It is worth noting that I am not saying this as a reproach, because many coaching ideas are not always implemented on the field.

– One of the complaints against Karpin is the increased injury rate of the players: five players were injured in 10 days of the training camp. What is the reason for this?

– Here you need to turn to the forms of injuries. If they are unilateral – the adductor muscle or the back of the thigh has flown out – then this is one thing. There may be wrestling injuries. The coach is not to blame for all of them. It is necessary to analyze it with a physical training coach, it may be that the player came to the training camp already with damage.

Valery Karpin / photo: RFU press service

– There is no captain in the national team. How should we relate to this?

– It only means that now the team does not have one pronounced leader who would have authority on the field. Moreover, the age of a football player is not important. But, apparently, no one has yet convinced Karpin. However, it should be understood that a week is not enough to determine the leader of the team. You still need to feel it, try to try on a bandage for everyone worthy.

– One gets the feeling that the captain’s duties were taken over by Karpin himself. Also, he replaces Artyom Dziuba in terms of humor in the team.

“You can’t blame him for that, a man in search. Yes, finding the captain seems like a formality. But it takes a serious approach Karpin does not want to hold a secret ballot or similar elections. He wants to feel the team, and then decide… It seems to me that he has already identified the candidates for himself.


– Cyprus and Malta are not the largest football powers, but the games with them turned out to be very difficult. Why doesn’t Russia know how to crack a sticky defense?

– To call them viscous, in my opinion, is exaggerated. As for Malta, its claims to the top team helped us a lot: the goalkeeper, like a Barcelona player, rolls the ball around his own penalty area, they almost scored a few goals for themselves. Many actions of the Maltese made me smile.

Photo: RFU press service

Note that even small teams claim to play the ball from the goal, thanks to which Russia scored the first goal. And this is normal: some want to put pressure, the other gives themselves to pressure to cut off a large number of opponent players. As soon as Malta went on the attack and lost the ball, we immediately punished them with counterattacks. In this plan the game of the Russians encouraged: we quickly delivered balls to the attacks, cut the defense of the Maltese… However, there was a certain element of “courtyard” in the game of our opponents.

There was no fear of losing over Malta, no one would ask them. The tactical pattern was not visible, they either defended well or huddled together. Our implementation suffered. We created chances and launched dangerous counterattacks. It is these moments that need to be disassembled. But as for me, the players had a desire to win with little blood. But this happens not only with us. Indeed, why bother if I win anyway? I will score not in the 5th minute, but in the 10th or 30th, what’s the difference? I will crush in the second half and score. Unfortunately, it was like that.

– With Malta there was a controversial episode – it was not clear whether the ball crossed the goal line or not.

– I understand why the episode caused such a resonance. He kept us in the first place in group H, and now we will be the second for a whole month – the Croats have overtaken us in goal difference. That is why this goal is so painful. But the main thing is to be the first in the tournament, you need to score clean goals so that VAR is silent.

Photo: RFU press service

– The final matches of the selection will be held very soon and against quite strong teams – Slovaks and Slovenes. Are there any chances for Russia to get out of the group from the first place?

– There you will not meet the Maltese goalkeeper and defenders who are ready to score for themselves. The opponents are stronger, but for us the matches should be more interesting. If we go through this period without recessions, then this will speak of an increase in the level of our team. Raise the level – we will solve the problem of reaching the world championship. Then we’ll be ready for Qatar. Hope for luck, a miracle, judicial mistakes in our favor – this is the road to nowhere. It will be very difficult to solve the problem in October-November if the team continues to play as it is now. Slovenia has not lost its chances for second place, and their calendar is simpler. Potentially, they can solve the problem of getting out of the group, either from the first or from the second place.

– You are talking about raising the class of the national team. How can this be done? And is it possible in just a month?

– Performing skills. It is necessary to stop littering moments, to improve the skill of playing in defense, both individually in single combats and collectively. To increase the speed of the game in all components: thinking, decisions, switching, distance, starting speed. The current ones will not allow the task to be completed. This can be fixed in a month. Especially for those players who have matches in European competition. For those who only play RPL, it may be more difficult, they are used to a slow pace.


– Ilya Samoshnikov and Arsen Zakharyan made their debut in the national team. How do you like their game?

– Not bad, they have a good calendar. They did not spoil the overall picture, did not spoil the system. But these are still candidates for the national team, the guys can stop developing, and someone will shoot at this time. For the future, these are iron candidates.

– If Zakharyan was changed, then Samoshnikov spent all 90 minutes against Cyprus …

– It doesn’t mean anything. It is not always correct to draw conclusions based on the number of minutes played. Even in two minutes on the pitch, you can talk about the level of adaptation in the national team. It is not worth looking for a secret sign in this, I do not draw conclusions by the time spent on the field.

Ilya Samoshnikov / photo: RFU press service

– Five goalkeepers were summoned to the national team, but Guilherme played all the matches. Why?

– So many goalkeepers – to see them all, assess the level and draw preliminary conclusions. Then the goalkeeper is chosen by the coach according to his personal assessment: how he plays on the line, at the exit, with his feet, controls the defenders, the pace of the game. In my opinion, this will not happen further, it is too difficult to spread the game load on five. Therefore, at the next training camp I expect only three.

– Yuri Dupin will never get his chance.

– There is such a superstition – the “dry” goalkeeper does not change. If Guilherme got nervous, showed himself insecure, Dupin would come out… I myself was waiting for Yuri’s debut. But the emphasis was on an experienced player. Again, if the goalkeeper does not concede, then he and the defense played well. The opponent can tap the barbells and attack the entire game, but if the protocol is 0, the goalkeeper should not be changed.

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