It is difficult to explain the importance of club blocks for the national team. The specificity of the national team was once again emphasized by the words of Stanislav Chercesov from Monday, who, commenting on the team for the matches against Belgium and Kazakhstan, said that in terms of short-term fees, he more felt like a manager than a coach. It is a person whose task is not to prepare, but only to choose and to set. And it is clear that the success of this operation is greater, the more closely the players are known.
The luck of the national team was the Ignashevich Cup with the Berezutsky brothers, we realized only when we lost it. And ten previous years, this is not much thought. In the meantime, thanks to this trinity, one coach of the national team after another (Valery Gazzaev, Georgi Yortsev, Yuri Semin, Gus Hiddink, Dick Lawyer, Fabio Capello, Leonid Slutsky) had the opportunity to focus on the pleasant side of the creation of works, without to be especially distracted by the troubled, vital business of providing security.
Sergey Ignashevich, Vasily Berezutsky, Igor Akinfeev and Victor Vasin / Photo: RIA Novosti / Evgeny Byatov
Making a defense team from the teammates is a clear desire of every coach in the national team. In the 1990s, Spartak (Victor Onopko, Yuri Nikiforov) saved the national team, in the 1980s, the team of Kiev (Sergei Baltacha, Vladimir Besonov, Oleg Kuznetsov), in the early 1960s and 1970s, the army team Albert Shesterniov, Vladimir Kaplichny) … A suitable example will be found in almost every era, in the practice of completely different specialists – from Mikhail Yakushin to Fabio Capello. And now, it seems, came the end of the current headquarters.
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Ilia Kutepov and George Djikia together in "Spartak" for the third time, but as a couple, they become the only stronghold of the team. Before, with some mysterious match of circumstances, they always showed themselves in antiphase. And this, of course, was about the national team.
In the late autumn of 2016 and in the spring of 2017, Jikia was a newcomer in the national team, and Kutepov played, although not very successful. Until the summer, the situation radically changed: the Confederations Cup, George became a railroad at the beginning, and Ilya turned into a deep substitute. The situation remains the same in autumn 2017, but after the New Year there was a reversal. Jikia got a break of the knee ligament and Kutepov was the main player in the 2018 World Cup. September came – and a new flurry of fate. Now, due to poor health, Kutepov (an operation to remove the inguinal hernia) is eliminated, while Jikia, on the contrary, completely recovering and becoming the most important player for Cherchev (in autumn 2018, 5 out of 6 matches without one replacement).
In the past two years, they almost did not play as a club in the club. Even in those rare moments, when they were on the field nearby, Massimo Carrera, as a rule, chose a model with three central ones. As a duet with the Italians, they emerged from the first minutes, it seems, only once – in September 2017 against the Urals (2: 0).
In continuity, Spartak's central pair became only a year or more later. Raul Ryancho, from time to time, diluted their company with Salvator Bokketti, but Oleg Kononov had no hesitation. Six swords were played by red and white in November-December with a new coach – in all six, Kutepov and Jikia formed the center of defense. The status quo was saved on the January tournament in Qatar, where Kononov led an active rotation of all positions of the game, with the exception of two central ones. Indeed, closer to the continuation of the season, next to Jikia, Bokketti began to appear more often in sparkles, but this was the only reason – Kutepov's disqualification for the match with Krasnodar. And last week, against Dynamo, George and Elijah again came together.
And the center of defense proved to be almost the only place in Spartak's design, which did not raise serious issues. According to the statistics, both defenders were among the best, not only among the team players, but also among all the participants in the 19th round: Jikia was particularly good in the intercepts (11), and Kutepov – in single struggles (won 15 of 19). The blue-white hit only one hit on the target, and that is a characteristic of the defense of Spartacus. Despite this, let's not forget how cleverly Jikia played a decisive goal scoring.
Dynamo – Spartak. 0: 1. George Djikia
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Roman Neustechter, who was a permanent partner of Jikia in the national team last fall, is not called at all. And other options, except Kutepova, to fill the vacancy is not visible. Kazan defenders in no. Andrei Semenov does not enjoy the special trust of Cherchev (the only way to start in the last 26 games). Maxim Belyaev will only get to know the team. So a few Jikia – Kutepov, if there is no force majeure, there is largely no alternative.
And in the next position, the candidacy of another Spartak, Roman Sobnin, is also indisputable. Central defenders and mid-row supporters for each team are the core, the center of gravity, the key to stability. And there are every reason to believe that the team's core will be red and white, not only in a few subsequent matches, but also in a fairly long run.
Each of the three mentioned today is 25 years old – the Golden Age. Another point is the situation in other clubs RPL. Russian contractors in three key positions in the very center of mood are still available, except in Ruby, but, first, they use a model with three defenders, from which the team moved, and secondly, Spartacus surpassed colleagues from Kazan in international experience and perhaps a class.
True, the debut of the new key team is difficult. Romelu Lukaku, Edema Hazaus and Kevin de Bruin have powder and stronger walnuts. But it does not matter, Ignashovich and Brezetsky also did not immediately become classics.