Capello recalls Semak, Zyryanov for qualifiers

New Russia coach Fabio Capello has called up experienced midfielder Sergei Semak in an expanded squad for next month's 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Israel.

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Russia coach Fabio Capello (Reuters)

The 36-year-old Semak, who captained Russia at Euro 2008 where they reached semi-finals, last played for the national side in a friendly against Hungary in March 2010.

Italian Capello, who replaced Dutchman Dick Advocaat as Russia boss last month, decided he needed experienced players in a team that failed to advance past the group stage at Euro 2012, bringing back 34-year-old midfielder Konstantin Zyryanov.

The former England manager also recalled Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak and Anzhi Makhachkala winger Yuri Zhirkov among others in a 37-man squad after dropping the duo for this month's friendly against Ivory Coast.

Russia open their qualifying campaign at home to Northern Ireland on September 7 before facing Israel four days later.

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