Imagine if Gorbachev had not pursued his policies of 'Glasnost' and 'Perestroika'... Imagine if the Soviet Union had won the Cold War... Imagine if the now-independent states had wanted to remain part of the USSR... OK, enough with the politics, let's jut take a look at a current starting XI of players if the Soviet Union was still around today. Could they have a chance of winning the next European Championships...? Alternative option: Andriy Pyatov (Ukraine) The modern day Lev Yashin,...
GK - Igor Akinfeev (Russia)
Alternative option: Andriy Pyatov (Ukraine)
The modern day Lev Yashin, Akinfeev gained notoriety recently for an abysmal run of failing to keep clean sheets in the Champions League, yet the long-serving CSKA Moscow captain has broken countless records in Russia for preventing teams scoring and is closing in on a century of caps for the national team.
RB - Artem Fedetskyi (Ukraine)
Alternative option: Samat Smakov (Kazakhstan)
The 31-year-old is now playing in the Bundesliga with SV Darmstadt, after a long career in his home country with the likes of Shakhtar Donestk and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, reaching the Europa League final with the latter. Fedetskyi's reliability at full back means he's been selected over 50 times for the Ukrainian national side.
CB - Ragnar Klavan (Estonia)
Alternative option: Kaspars Gorkss (Latvia)
The giant Estonian has already amassed 116 caps for the national time and he is showing no signs of slowing. Klavan skippers his home country and is flourishing at club level, having moved to Liverpool last summer, following successful spells in both the Netherlands and Germany. He is an easy choice to marshal this Soviet defence.
CB - Guram Kashia (Georgia)
Alternative option: Dmytro Chygrynskyy (Ukraine)
The 29-year-old central defender is well accustomed to the European leagues, with the Georgian now in his 7th season with Dutch Eredivise side Vitesse Arnhem. A two-time winner of the Georgian Footballer of the Year, he could form a formidable partnership with Klavan in the heart of this stonewall back line.
LB - Yuri Zhirkov (Russia)
Alternative option: Vytautas Andriuskevicius (Lithuania)
Equally at ease at left back or on the left wing, Zhirkov is now one of the more experienced heads in the Russia national side, having turned 33 last August. Despite his disappointing (and expensive) spell with Chelsea, the former Russian Footballer of the Year is simply a winner back in his homeland, as spells with CSKA Moscow and Zenit Saint Petersburg have proved.
RM - Alan Dzagoev (Russia)
Alternative option: Jano Ananidze (Georgia)
It is fair to say that Dzagoev never reached his billing of the being the "Russian Messi", but his insistence of staying in his home country has allowed the talented midfielder to confirm his status as one of best Russians of his generation. The loyal 26-year-old is a three time Premier League winner with CSKA Moscow, as well as taking home a share of the Euro 2012 Golden Boot.
CM - Artur Ionita (Moldova)
Alternative option: Odil Ahmedov (Uzbekistan)
Ionita impressed so much during his time in the Serie A with Hellas Verona that the likes of Juventus and Napoli were both interested in signing the hard-working 26-year-old. In the end the Moldovan midfielder moved to Cagliari, where a long-term injury has prevented him from continuing to show off his talent.
CM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia)
Alternative option: Alexander Hleb (Belarus)
Arguably the best player on this list, Mkhitaryan has taken his extensive experience at club level to the Armenian national side, whom he now captains. The 28-year-old, now at Manchester United, has won his country's Footballer of the Year award for the last six consecutive seasons and will be the creative spark for this Soviet XI.
LM - Yevhen Konoplyanka (Ukraine)
Alternative option: Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine)
There was a time when Ukraine looked to have two of the brightest young prospects in European football in Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko, but the latter's continued presence at Dynamo Kyiv has allowed the former's career to really take off instead. Konoplyanka, now at Schalke on loan from Sevilla, will be the exciting wing option for this Soviet XI.
FW - Artjoms Rudnevs (Latvia)
Alternative option: Viktor Kovalenko (Ukraine)
Compatriot Deniss Rakels, who plies his trade with Championship side Reading, is emerging as the natural heir to Rudnevs throne, but the 29-year-old striker still remains one of the best strikers from the region. An established Bundesliga frontman following goal-laden spells with Hamburger SV, Hannover 96 and now FC Koln, Rudnevs will lead the line by example.
FW - Artem Dzyuba (Russia)
Alternative option: Aleksandr Kokorin (Russia)
For the final spot in the team, Zenit Saint Petersburg star man Artem Dzyuba gets the nod ahead of a number of his compatriots, including Aleksandr Kokorin and Fyodor Smolov. The 28-year-old continually finds the back of the net in the Russian Premier League, while he also ended the as his country's top scorer during the Euro 2016 qualification, with eight goals.