Russia name Ruslan Kambolov in preliminary World Cup squad

Martin Ainstein’s tour of World Cup host cities arrives at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium, which will host six World Cup matches this summer.
Martin Ainstein’s train pulls up at World Cup host city Rostov-on-Don, home of the historic Museum of Railways.

Russia have included defender Ruslan Kambolov, investigated by FIFA over alleged doping, in their preliminary squad for the World Cup.

Kambolov was investigated after a World Anti-Doping Agency report alleged that doping cases in dozens of sports in the host nation had been covered up as part of a wider conspiracy.

Last month, lawyers for Kambolov said his case had been closed due to a lack of evidence, but FIFA has not confirmed that claim.

The 28-man preliminary squad, which must be cut to 23 by June 4, includes only three players at clubs outside Russia — Villarreal winger Denis Cheryshev, Fenerbahce defender Roman Neustadter and Brugge goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov.

Zenit St. Petersburg forward Alexander Kokorin is absent after failing to recover from a knee injury, leaving Fyodor Smolov of FC Krasnodar and Artyom Dzyuba of Arsenal Tula as the main attacking threats.

Russia are struggling ahead of the World Cup, with no wins in their last five matches, and have pre-tournament friendlies scheduled in Austria and at home to Turkey.

They play Saudi Arabia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow, followed by Group A matches against Egypt and Uruguay.