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Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev rested for Nations League opener

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has rested goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for the team's first matches since reaching the World Cup quarterfinals.

Akinfeev, the hero of the penalty shootout win over Spain, is among 11 members of the World Cup squad who will be absent for the opening Nations League game in Turkey on Sept. 7 and a home friendly against the Czech Republic three days later.

Three of those players have retired from internationals, while Monaco's Alexander Golovin is injured. There was no explanation for the absence of other players including forward Fyodor Smolov and midfielder Alan Dzagoev.

Among those coming in are fringe players like Brazilian-born goalkeeper Guilherme, and the naturalised German defenders Roman Neustaedter and Konstantin Rausch. Krasnodar midfielder Dmitry Stotsky is the only uncapped player in the squad.

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