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Soccer-Russia surprise as Capello calls up Pogrebnyak

Reuters

MOSCOW, May 12 (Reuters) - Russia coach Fabio Capello sprung a surprise on Monday by naming 30-year-old Pavel Pogrebnyak in his provisional 30-man squad for next month's World Cup in Brazil.

The striker, who plays for England second-tier club Reading, has yet to appear for his country under Italian Capello and his international career appeared to be over.

Pogrebnyak's last appearance for Russia came against Greece in June 2012.

The former Fulham forward, who scored 13 goals in 39 Championship appearances this season, is the only player in the squad who plays his club football outside Russia.

As expected there was no room for Andrey Arshavin, Roman Pavlyuchenko or Dinyar Bilyaletdinov.

Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko have struggled to get much first team action with Zenit St Petersburg and Lokomotiv Moscow respectively this season.

Bilyaletdinov has just suffered relegation from the top flight with Anzhi Makhachkala after joining them on loan from Spartak Moscow.

Artem Dzyuba was included by Capello. The Spartak striker has spent this season on loan with Rostov and has scored 17 goals, the second highest in the Russian Premier League.

Fedor Smolov was omitted despite being a regular in Capello's previous squads.

He spent the second half of the season on loan at Anzhi but only scored twice in 10 matches.

The Italian has to cut his squad to 23 players by June 2.

The squad start their preparations with a friendly against Slovakia in St Petersburg on May 26.

Russia also have pre-World Cup friendlies against Norway and Morocco before leaving for Brazil.

Capello's team have been drawn in Group H along with South Korea, Belgium and Algeria as they make their first appearance at the finals in 12 years.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Lodygin (Zenit St Petersburg), Sergey Ryzhikov (Rubin Kazan)

Defenders: Alexander Anyukov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexey Berezutskiy (CSKA Moscow), Vasili Berezutskiy (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Granat (Dynamo Moscow), Andrey Eshchenko (Anzhi Makhachkala), Sergey Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Alexey Kozlov (Dynamo Moscow), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Andrey Semenov (Terek Grozny), Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moscow)

Midfielders: Vladimir Bystrov (Anzhi Makhachkala), Yury Gazinskiy (Krasnodar), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Zhirkov (Dynamo Moscow), Alexey Ionov (Dynamo Moscow), Pavel Mogilevets (Rubin Kazan), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Victor Faizulin (Zenit St Petersburg), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (Krasnodar)

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Rostov), Maxim Kanunnikov (Amkar Perm), Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Dynamo Moscow), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) (Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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