The past
As the Soviet Union, the side were victorious in the previous guise of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the U-16 World Championship in 1987. The team swept aside all before them, scoring a remarkable 20 goals in the five games leading up to the final, where a penalty shootout victory against Nigeria followed a 1-1 draw. As Russia, the team have qualified once for the U-17 global finals, as European champions in 2013. They won one match in the UAE and exited the competition with a 3-1 defeat to three-time champions Brazil in the Round of 16.

The present
Sbornaya reached the UEFA U-17 Championship final tournament with an unbeaten run through qualifying, and showed resilience in Bulgaria. Despite only reaching the knockout stages ahead of Greece on goal difference, thanks to a 2-0 victory against Scotland in their final group game when down to ten men, they defeated holders England in the quarter-finals, before narrowly succumbing to Germany in the semi-finals.

The future
Coach Mikhael Galaktionov can begin to prepare for Chile, with a sturdy defence which conceded just six goals in 11 matches throughout their UEFA U-17 campaign, punctuated with the goalscoring talents of Zenit St Petersburg’s Yegor Denisov.

“I'm very proud of my country and the boys, who have achieved an important objective: reaching the World Cup,” Galaktionov told “It's a very important step in their careers and, of course, we are very happy for the team, the staff and the supporters. I'm thankful to the players for their spirit and fighter's soul.”

Facts and Figures

Former stars
Yuri Nikiforov, Oleg Matveev, Aleksei Gasilin, Anton Mitryushkin, Aleksandr Makarov

Key players
Aleksandr Maksimenko, Amir Gavrilov, Konstantin Kotov, Georgi Makhatadze, Yegor Denisov

The stat
6 –
The number of clean sheets kept in 11 games by Russia on their road to the UEFA U-17 Championship semi-finals, maintaining a fine tradition from their 2013 victory, where they conceded just one goal in their five games at the final tournament.