Russia planning to overhaul national team after EURO disappointment

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PARIS (AP) – The Russian Football Union says a clearout of top national team players is planned ahead of the World Cup amid worries they lack the desire to represent the country.

Russia was last in its Euro 2016 group with losses to Slovakia and Wales and a draw with England, prompting fears of a similar failure as host nation at the World Cup in 2018.

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RFU president Vitaly Mutko, who is also Russia’s sports minister, says there will be a “renewed team” in the coming months.

Mutko adds “maybe a (new player) will have less class, but he must have huge desire to play for his country,” in comments reported by the Tass agency.

Russia is also looking for a new coach after Leonid Slutsky quit following the Euro exit.