Russia – World Cup 2014 – Betting
Manager: Fabio Capello
Captain: Sergei Ignashevich
FIFA World Ranking: 22
World Cup Appearances: 9
Best World Cup: Fourth Place 1966
Russia Team Profile
An enigmatic side and a pretty pragmatic one as well. This is the first time that they have been back at the World finals since 2002 and their previous two appearances, the other back in 1994 have both seen them fail to get out of the group stage. A lot will be expected of them though at Brazil 2014 as they go up against Belgium, Algeria and Korea. So not too difficult of a challenge ahead and they should find themselves in the knockout stages of the competition. The Russian side is pretty much built by home based players and that means that there isn’t too much known about them, other than when the top Russian sides get a run out in the UEFA Champions League.
Former England boss Fabio Capello is now at the helm and just two years ago in the European Championships, they opened with a bang and were expected to be one of the most dangerous, thrilling sides in the competition. They rapidly fell away though and failed to even get out of the group stage to huge disappointment. Still, they were pretty comfortable through qualification and edged out Portugal by a point. They showed plenty of promise going forward and some defensive work, even though along the way they suffered a shock defeat against Northern Ireland. THey weren’t actually favourites to top the qualification group though.
After missing out in Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010, the Russians will be keen to make a big impression here. they are one of the bigger European names though who have failed to make any kind of impact in the outright winner market, with bookmakers leaving them out at a distant 80/1, perhaps just beyond the realm of being a dark horse.
Well we all know about Fabio Capello who has been around the block and back again. He has coached the best sides in Europe, like AC Milan, Real Madrid and Juventus and was in charge of England’s 2010 World Cup campaign. That didn’t go well at all in South Africa, as a terribly unbalanced and unadventurous England managed to scrape their way through an easy group in second place, which meant that they went up against Germany in the round of sixteen and subsequently got knocked out. Capello was heavily criticised for style during his England tenure.
It may be a good fit for Russia though, as they are hard working in somewhat of an Italian style. He took over the Russian national side following their egos nation of Dick ADvocaat. He recently signed a contract extension to keep him in the job until the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is to be hosted by Russia. A poor showing in Brazil may not see him get that far.
Russia Key Players
Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is a massive player for them, and this speaks volumes about the Russian side. He played every minute of qualification and shipped just the five goals, putting in some great performance. As the Russian side is completely built on their defensive strengths, they Akinfeev is a vital player for them.
Zenit St Petersburg midfielder duo of Roman Shirokov (captain) and Viktor Fayzulin are pivotal to their chances. What they do so well for their club in providing balance and stretch in the middle of the pitch, they bring to the international stage as they know each other so well. Their big star in the midfield is the tricky and talent Alan Dzagoev who is still just 23 years old and has the world at his feet. Most of their creative work will come through him.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov was top scorer for Russia during qualification and he wasn’t always a regular starter. Just goes to show that class is permanent and the former Sevilla man could be a pivotal cog in their machine. Frankly there’s not too much support to back him up in the forward roles.
The strengths of Russia are at the back. They have a world class keeper back there to start things off and they don’t give too much away. That is because they are not the most expansive side, but it works for them. The defensive areas of the midfield also play a vitally important role for Russia and the tighter you see them keeping things in games, the more headaches that they will cause their opposition.
Against top teams you do have a bit of a problem in seeing where a lot of goals are going to come from. It’s not really their style to go pushing forward to take initiative in games, they are happy with walking away with clean sheets and narrow wins. They have the perfect man in Fabio Capello for that. Still, if they get behind in a game you can see them falling apart a bit once they actually have to open up.
Russia Qualification for the World Cup
The Russians were tanking along out of the gates in their qualification group, winning four from four. They then hit a bit of a hiccup, losing in Portugal and then in Northern Ireland. However, they showed great fight in having to respond because of the pressure that Portugal was putting on them. They won their next three games and then posted the draw that they needed to get away in Azerbaijan in their final match, which was enough to seal top spot for them. Russia averaged two goals per game during qualification, their biggest win a 4-1 victory over Luxembourg.
Goals Scored: 20
Goals Conceded: 5
Russia World Cup Betting Odds
Russia to win the World Cup 80/1 at Bet365
Russia World Cup 2014 Fixtures – Group H
|Tu 17th June||17.00||Belgium v Algeria||2:1|
|Tu 17th June||23.00||Russia v South Korea||1:1|
|Su 22nd June||17.00||Belgium v Russia||1:0|
|Su 22nd June||20.00||South Korea v Algeria||2:4|
|Th 26th June||21.00||South Korea v Belgium||0:1|
|Th 26th June||21.00||Algeria v Russia||1:1|
World Cup 2014 Group H Table
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