MOSCOW, March 11 (Reuters) - Russia coach Fabio Capello has dropped three players, including promising Anzhi Makhachkala striker Fyodor Smolov, from his initial squad for this month's World Cup qualifier in Northern Ireland.
Smolov, 23, scored on his Russia debut, finding the net after nine minutes in a 2-2 draw against the United States in November's friendly but has been less effective for his club in recent matches.
He did not feature in last week's 0-0 home draw against Newcastle United in the Europa League last 16 and did not fare well after coming on in the second half of Sunday's 2-0 league defeat at struggling Mordovia Saransk.
Capello also axed Dynamo Moscow goalkeeper Anton Shunin and Terek Grozny midfielder Oleg Ivanov on Monday while recalling Lokomotiv Moscow's Dmitry Tarasov as he trimmed his squad to 25 players for the Group F match in Belfast on March 22.
Russia also face Brazil in a friendly at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground in London three days later.
Capello said a win in Belfast would put the Russians, who have made a flying start to their World Cup qualifying campaign by winning all four of their matches so far, within sight of next year's finals in Brazil.
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeyev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Anzhi Makhachkala), Sergei Ryzhykov (Rubin Kazan)
Defenders: Alexander Anyukov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexei Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Vasily Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Kirill Nababkin (CSKA Moscow), Andrei Yeshchenko (Anzhi Makhachkala), Arseny Logashov (Anzhi Makhachkala), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Vladimir Granat (Dynamo Moscow)
Midfielders: Igor Denisov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (Zenit St Petersburg), Vladimir Bystrov (Zenit St Petersburg), Viktor Faizulin (Zenit St Petersburg), Alan Dzagoyev (CSKA Moscow), Denis Glushakov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Dmitry Tarasov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Yuri Zhirkov (Anzhi Makhachkala), Oleg Shatov (Anzhi Makhachkala)
Forwards: Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Dynamo Moscow), Maxim Grigoryev (Lokomotiv Moscow). (Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov, editing by Mark Meadows)