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Kambolov in preliminary Russia squad

Russia
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Nizhny Novogorod, a 'closed' city, is ready for a World Cup party

A sneak peak of episode 2 of Martin Ainstein's Russian odyssey takes him to World Cup host city Nizhny Novgorod, famous for its Matryoshka dolls.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of essays profiling all of the cities set to host World Cup games this summer. Eliot Rothwell visited every venue to get a sense of how preparations were going and what the mood was like ahead of the tournament.

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia -- I spent the afternoon in driving hail on the east of side Nizhny Novgorod, watching two amateur teams, FK Uran and Dzerzhinsk TC, compete in the region's winter championships.

The snow was piled high around the pitch...

 By PA Sport

FIFA ends doping probe into Russia World Cup squad and athletes

Martin Ainstein's tour of World Cup host cities arrives at Sochi's Fisht Stadium, which will host six World Cup matches this summer.

FIFA says there is "insufficient evidence'' to open anti-doping proceedings against any player in Russia's World Cup squad after concluding an investigation launched following the exposure of systemic drug use in Russian sport.

Football's world governing body on Tuesday announced an end to the investigation which followed the McLaren reports, which found state-sponsored doping in Russian sport, including football.

The world governing body said: "FIFA can today confirm that the investigations concerning...

Russia drop Ruslan Kambolov from World Cup squad ahead of doping probe

Ruslan Kambolov

Russia cut defender Ruslan Kambolov, who faced a doping investigation, from their World Cup squad on Monday, saying he injured a calf muscle with Rubin Kazan the day before.

Kambolov was replaced on the preliminary squad by 38-year-old veteran Sergei Ignashevich, who came out of international retirement.

The RFU said coaches dropped Kambolov, "taking into account the training time [until the World Cup begins] and the possibility of exacerbating the problem."

Kambolov was investigated by FIFA...