MOSCOW, August 11 (R-Sport) - Russia coach Fabio Capello insists his team is fully aware of the need to take three points from Windsor Park in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast.
Russia trail Group F leaders Portugal by two points but have two games in hand. With only the group winners guaranteed a place in Brazil, Capello knows anything less than three points could jeopardize the country's chances of making its first World Cup since 2002.
"A moment of great responsibility has arrived," Capello said in comments carried by the Russian FA's website. "I think that everyone understands the significance of the match ahead of us, of the result and how very much depends on it in the standings."
Russia have won five and lost one of their six qualifying games, and will look for a repeat of the 2-0 victory at Luzhniki Stadium last September that kicked off their campaign in style.
"This is a physically tough, athletic team that is very dangerous on the counterattack," Capello warned. "We can't afford to lose concentration."
"We will have to play very compactly and move the ball around well; one, two-touch stuff without dwelling on the ball."
Russia are training at Arsenal's base on London ahead of the game, which is a rescheduling of a fixture that was originally to be played in March but called off due to an icy pitch.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.