How they qualified: Fabio Capello's qualifying record with England was impeccable and he continued that trend as Russia head coach despite one slip-up against Northern Ireland. Russia beat Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal to first place in Group F.
World Cup pedigree: Poor, which is rather mysterious for such a massive, resource-rich country. A Lev Yashin-inspired USSR finished fourth in 1966, their best performance to date. They reached the quarter-finals in 1958, 1962 and 1970 but have done nothing of note since then and indeed failed to qualify for the last two tournaments.
Main man: Aleksandr Kokorin. At just 22, the striker is already an integral part of this Russian team. He scored four goals in qualifying and will be expected to add to his tally in Brazil.
One to watch: Highly rated keeper Yuri Lodygin. Igor Akinfeev is Capello's number one as it stands but rumours in Russia are circulating that the Zenit stopper could displace him before Brazil 2014 comes around.
What are their chances? Will be hard to break down, but may struggle against higher-tempo teams. And this isn't a team that the neutral will find it easy to watch and love. Building towards the 2018 World Cup on home soil is a higher priority than Brazil 2014, anyway, but Capello will like his side's chances of outdoing Algeria and South Korea in Group H.