Our national soccer team will face a tough test when it faces Russia on November 20 at the Volgograd Arena stadium.
According to press reports, approximately one week ago more than 22 thousand tickets were sold to enjoy the match, which is a clear sign of Russian support for their team, even though it faces an opponent as unexpected as Cuba.
For them it is the first time in 20 years that they have held a match in Volgograd, and the third time in 2023 at home on a FIFA date (victory on March 26 against Iraq 2-0 in Saint Petersburg, and in October 12 against Cameroon 1-0 in Moscow).
Those coached by the legendary Valery Karpin, who was nicknamed The Tsar in his youth, have their flags midfielders Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit) and Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco).
For their part, after a good participation in level A of the Nations League of the North, Central American and Caribbean Football Confederation (Concacaf), the Caribbean Lions will face the game with notable absences (Onel Hernández, Jorge Luis Corrales and Modesto Méndez, for example), the call of a new legionnaire, the return of important elements and the presence of others who are almost unknown.
The biggest joy was the return of Karel Espino, after several months out of the pitch as a result of an operation on his right knee, and of Luis Javier Paradela, together with the call of Fabián Gloor, a 21-year-old right who was born in Cuba and trained in football in Switzerland.
This match for our team is similar to what was believed to be last June against Chile and Uruguay, opponents that are bigger than ours, and will probably also end in defeat like their predecessors, but compete against the best you always have learned.
The important thing is that regardless of the result, coach Yunielys Castillo is developing his game plan, strengthening the collective automatisms necessary to consolidate the model he wants to implement, and not wanting to find a victory that is almost impossible , at least in our opinion .
If it comes out at the bottom and starts to change its design, I think the cap will be of little use, as apparently happened after the trip to South America, because the largest of the Antilles has one of the most disappointing Gold Cup performance. .
What is more pragmatic is the analysis that playing against an opponent who loses ranking points affects the draw for the next World Cup qualification, where we are currently the worst ranked team among those in pot three.
A loss, combined with a good result for Bermuda against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, could move us towards pot four and force us to face a stronger group.
However, we are aware of the many difficulties that exist in taking these training sessions and we will not waste them, in addition to the fact that the battle will be a show for some of our talents, which are not really shown in Europe.