MOSCOW, October 11 (RIA Novosti)
Russia's match with Portugal on Friday will be a close World Cup qualifier between two top-quality sides, Russia coach Fabio Capello predicted Thursday.
The two top sides in Group F, both with 100 percent win records, are to face off on the plastic pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium.
"Portugal are a good side, as they showed at the last European championships," Capello said. "Russia are a good-quality side too, so I think it will be a good game, a tough game, and there are no favorites."
The artifical surface is unlikely to hinder Portugal's star-studded lineup, Capello said.
"The quality of the players is such that they can play well on any surface, so I don't think it will have any effect on the players in the Portugal side," he said.
Capello complained vocally about the state of the natural pitch at Moscow's Lokomotiv stadium following Russia's last home game against Northern Ireland, and said it had still appeared poor when he watch Anzhi take on Young Boys in the Europa League there last week.
Some of the Portugal squad have experience playing on Luzhniki's artificial turf.
Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid in the 1-1 Champions League draw against CSKA Moscow in February, when defenders Fabio Coentrao and Pepe also played, while Bruno Alves appears there regularly in the Russian Premier League for Zenit St. Petersburg.
Ronaldo and Nani were in the Manchester United side that beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties in the 2008 Champions League final at Luzhniki, which shipped in natural grass for the occasion.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Removing Protesters’ Barricades in Kiev
Infographics: First Russian Smartphone
Russia has become very adept in playing the diplomatic game, in which victory depends on choosing the right associate or partner. But there are a growing number of claimants to this role in the new horizontal and interdependent world. Aside Syria and Iran, being still important, the new venues for the application of practical diplomacy may well be Ukraine, the East China Sea and Afghanistan.