Samedov gets Russia call
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Dick Advocaat has called up Dynamo Moscow midfielder Alexander Samedov for Russia's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers against Slovakia and Andorra.

The 27-year-old had previously failed to make Advocaat's team but his solid performances this season have helped his team to second in the Russian league just two points behind Zenit St Petersburg. Russia, who play Slovakia on 7 October at Zilina and Andorra four days later in Moscow, top Group B with 17 points from eight matches, two points ahead of the Republic of Ireland, with Armenia and Slovakia sharing third on 14 points.

Reacting to his selection Samedov said: "It's very pleasant and inspiring to receive a call from the national side's coach. And, of course, now I feel personal responsibility for the results of the upcoming qualifiers that will decide our group winner."

Advocaat denied that he was pressured into selecting the veteran who had played for Russia's U-21s. "Public opinion was definitely not the reason for me to call Samedov into the national squad," Advocaat said. "His performance this season was the only real reason for me to call him.

"Besides, in the upcoming matches we will have to play without Dmitry Torbinsky, who is sidelined with injury. I hope that Samedov, who performed well in the Russian league matches, will also perform at his top in the national side."

Russia will also have to play without first-choice goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev, who will be out for at least six months with a knee injury. Zenit keeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev, who played in the Group B qualifiers with Macedonia and Ireland, is also uncertain for the upcoming matches as he suffered a hip injury last weekend.

Russia squad
Vyacheslav Malafeyev (Zenit St Petersburg), Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow)
Defenders: Alexander Anyukov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexei Berezursky, Vasily Berezutsky, Sergei Ignashevich (all CSKA Moscow), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Yury Zhirkov (Anzhi Makhachkala)
Midfielders: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Everton/ENG), Denis Glushakov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Igor Denisov, Konstantin Zyryanov, Roman Shirokov (all Zenit St Petersburg), Alan Dzagoyev (CSKA Moscow), Alexander Samedov, Igor Semshov (both Dynamo Moscow)
Forwards: Andrei Arshavin (Arsenal/ENG), Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenith St Petersburg), Roman Pavlyuchenkno (Tottenham/ENG), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Stuttgart/GER)