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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Decision Time for Russian Squad

Russia will meet Belarus in the four-nation LG Cup on Friday at Dynamo Stadium in one of its last games before the start of the World Cup.

Dubbed the Slavic Cup, Belarus, Ukraine and Yugoslavia join Russia at a tournament specially arranged to help Russia coach Oleg Romantsev decide on his World Cup squad.

Ukraine and Yugoslavia will play before the Russia game Friday with the winner and the loser of each game meeting on Sunday.

Last week, Romantsev picked a 27-man squad for the LG Cup and virtually all will play at some point during the two games of the tournament as Romantsev whittles the 27 down to his final 23.

"In the first match with Belarus we plan to use a lot of footballers and to see what they are capable of," Romantsev said at a news conference Wednesday.

Among those who will play in the first match is the surprise choice of the 27, midfielder Denis Laktionov, who has played football in the South Korean national league for the last six years where he helped take his club, Blue Wings Samsung, to the Asian club championship on two occasions.

"He plays in the part of Asia where we will have to play our matches. Laktionov has adapted to the type of Asian game," said Romantsev, "He will more than likely play against Belarus and then we will see his true possibilities."

Romantsev's main task, with most of the players in defense and attack clear, will be to pick nine midfielders from the 12 called up.

There was talk of Ukraine pulling out of the cup this week after the death of former national coach Valery Lobanovsky on Monday.

"I think if Valery Vasilivich was alive he would never have postponed a game," said Romantsev, who had earlier paid tribute to the legendary coach by saying his death was "an unbearable loss for world football." A minute's silence will be held in tribute to Lobanovsky before the matches.

Ukraine plays Yugoslavia and Russia plays Belarus on Friday at Dynamo Stadium, 36 Leningradsky Prospekt, from 5 p.m. Nearest metro: Dynamo.
The third-place playoff and final take place at the same venue Sunday from 1 p.m.