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Shirokov's absence to hurt Russia

New Russia captain Vasily Berezutskiy is confident the team can still be successful at the World Cup without the injured Roman Shirokov, the man who was supposed to wear the armband in Brazil.

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Shirokov was ruled out days before the start of the World Cup with a lingering back injury, news which caused sense of resignation in Russia that their hopes of glory this summer were over.

''Of course, he is a big loss for us,'' said Berezutskiy, who will lead Russia into their opening match against South Korea on Tuesday -- the last two nations to begin their group-stage campaigns.

''However, this Russia team is strong as a team, it's a collective effort. We shouldn't be fixated that his absence will affect us too much.''

Russia will be coached by Fabio Capello, who in January signed a new four-year contract which will take him through to the 2018 World Cup being held in the country.

''Of course, our biggest star is the coach,'' Beruzutsky added. ''He is a very respected coach. He won [titles] in Spain and Italy. He is a Champions League winner. We don't have players in our squad with such a respected reputation.''

Denis Glushakov and Viktor Faizulin appear to be battling to replace Shirokov in midfield, while Beruzutsky declared himself fit despite training alone in recent days because of a foot injury.

Capello said Berezutskiy was chosen as captain ahead of midfielder Igor Denisov because ''he speaks English and communication with the referee is very important.''

Information from Associated Press was used in this report

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