Russia's early Confederations Cup exit has sparked a wave of concern among fans as the 2018 World Cup hosts scramble to avoid another embarrassment at next year's finals. Stanislav Cherchesov's side slumped out of the World Cup warm-up event on Saturday with a 2-1 loss to Mexico that featured shaky goalkeeping and missed chances. With less than a year to the World Cup finals, Russia are left with few options to add depth to their squad and unlike other countries fighting for a spot in the tournament, they will not have the chance to gauge their strength in qualifying.
The four teams expected to reach the Confederations Cup semifinals have done so, and that’s about it. When the Confederations Cup field was finalized earlier this year, the eight-team field seemed to have two tiers, more or less. On one side, you had lesser national teams like Australia, Cameroon, New Zealand and host Russia.
Jose Mourinho will make more signings this summer as he looks to shape Manchester United into a team that can contend for the Premier League and Champions League. Perisic, the 28-year-old Croatia winger, has been at the center of a will-he, won’t-he transfer saga between United and Inter Milan almost since the summer began. United was not willing to meet that valuation but now there appears to be a more insurmountable problem on the near horizon.