- Associated Press - Friday, June 2, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia lost another player ahead of the Confederations Cup on Friday when forward Artyom Dzyuba withdrew from the squad citing fitness concerns.

The Zenit St. Petersburg forward had previously complained of a knee problem.

“I’m leaving the Russian team solely because of my health,” Dzyuba said in a statement issued by the Russian soccer federation. “I wouldn’t want to take up someone else’s place in the squad because I’m not 100 percent fit. I really wanted to help the Russian team but, alas, that’s not happening.”

Russian team doctor Eduard Bezuglov said Dzyuba didn’t have a serious problem with his knee but needed more time to recover. He said Dzyuba hadn’t been able to cope with a full training schedule.

Russia previously lost midfielder Alan Dzagoev, right back Mario Fernandes, and backup goalkeeper Andrei Lunyov because of injury.

Dzyuba’s absence means Fyodor Smolov could be Russia’s main striker for the Confederations Cup, which starts on June 17 with the hosts playing New Zealand in St. Petersburg.

Russia also has forwards Alexander Bukharov, Dmitry Poloz and Maxim Kanunnikov in its preliminary squad.

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