Russia has always fielded competitive teams, as Soviet union before 1991 and thereafter as it became known as the Russian Federation.  In 1966 USSR reached the semifinal match, and their qualification record since the eighties has been very good.  In qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, Russia finished with a respectable 6-5-1 record, but a loss to Slovakia prevented them from a run off against Spain.  Club soccer is on the rise in Russia, with CSKA Moscow winning the UEFA Cup in 2005, and the national team looks to be a contender in future qualifications.