Russian defender Yuri Zhirkov made played his first game for the senior team against Italy in Cagliari on February 9, 2005. He was named in the starting XI as Russia suffered a 2-0 international friendly defeat at the hands of their hosts.

Yuri Zhirkov made his tournament bow for the Russian senior team at the Euro 2008 tournament and he was an important player for the team on the way to a surprising exit at the semi-final stage. Russia exceeded expectations by reaching the last four at the Euro 2008 tournament in Switzerland and Austria. Zhirkov was named in the Team of the Tournament and the left-back also made the list of 30 nominees for the 2008 Ballon d’Or. In the end, Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo was named the recipient of the 2008 Ballon d’Or award.Russian left-back Zhirkov received his first red card in the colours of the senior team during the 2010 World Cup play-off second leg clash with Slovenia. He was sent off for two bookable offences with the second one coming in the closing stages of the game for pushing a Slovenian substitute. Zhirkov and Russia lost 1-0 to hosts Slovenia during the game played on November 18, 2009.

Yuri Zhirkov played in his second major tournament for the Russian senior team at the Euro 2012 tournament in Ukraine and Poland as they failed to hit the heights of the Euro 2008 tournament. He played all the three Russia games as his country crashed out of the tournament at the group stage.

Zhirkov scored his first goal for the Russian senior team on the occasion of his 61st cap. His goal came against Morocco in a pre-tournament international friendly for the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil. He scored the opener on the way to a 2-0 win. At the tournament, Yuri Zhirkov featured once and that was during the opening match for his team, which ended in a 1-1 draw with South Korea. He played 71 minutes before making way for Alexander Kerzhakov. Zhirkov and Russia crashed out of the tournament in Brazil at the group stage.

Yuri Zhirkov missed out on the Russian squad for the Euro 2016 tournament in France, but he was back for both the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup tournaments on home soil. He also played for Russia at the Euro 2020 tournament last year.


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