Russia can be world champions in 2018: Platini

January 21st, 2012 - 3:07 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Jan 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s national football team has what it takes to win its home World Cup in 2018, UEFA president Michel Platini has said.

The world’s most prestigious event is coming to the biggest nation for the first time.

“Russia are capable of winning the World Cup,” Platini said in an interview.

“Russia can accomplish great success at the championships so long as the team is built around strong players.”

Dick Advocaat’s side go into summer’s Euro 2012 with high hopes on the back of a strong performance in qualifying, where they won a close-fought group.

The country is banking on a promising new crop of players to shine at their home event in 2018.

“The results of the home championship will depend primarily on the quality of players at the disposal of the national team, so you really need to focus on the youth, on the 18-20-year-olds. They are the ones who will play a key role at the World Cup,” Platini said.

Russian fans hope youngsters such as CSKA Moscow’s Alan Dzagoev, Lokomotiv’s Roman Shishkin and Spartak Moscow winger Pavel Yakovlev can ensure a smooth generational change from the old guard of Sergei Ignashevich, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin, who have formed the backbone of the squad for years.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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