Northern Ireland vs Russia Friendly 2013
Northern Ireland vs Russia Preview:
Date: August 14, 2013; Time: 7:45 PM BST;
Venue: Windsor Park — Belfast.
Fabio Capello’s team will try to return to the top spot when they travel to the winless Northern Ireland. WC Qualifiers continue with an exciting fixture between Northern Ireland and Russia, where the visitors must take all three points to back at the top, while home side will fight for honour in face of fans.
Northern Ireland are struggling in Group F. Without any surprise they stand 5th 1 point behind Azerbaijan and equal on points with last-placed Luxemburg. Northern Ireland have 3 points from their 5 games. Last five matches Northern Ireland have finished with 4 straight draws and 1 defeat to Israel. They have lost to Russia, but held a 1-1 draw with Portugal. Also they have a very poor scoring record, cause any player over the last 12 months has scored more than 1 goal.
Russia currently stands 2nd in Group F just 2 points behind the leaders Portugal, but having 2 games in hand over their table rivals. Russia has 14 points after 5 games. Last five fixtures the Eastern Europe team has finished with 2 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat to Portugal. Russia also struggling in attack cause their best forward Aleksandr Kerzhakov is a very wasteful.
Since taking Northern Ireland in February 2012, head coach Michael O’Neill is yet without a win, while his team has lost all the chances of qualifying for Brazil 2014. David Healy, Paddy McCourt and Chris Baird are all free agents now, so they have been omitted from the squad. Manchester United’s Jonny Evans is under doubt after he missed the Community Shield final due to an ankle injury. Kyle Lafferty were sent home cause of injury and midfielder Chris Brunt will sit on the stands due to a ban.
Fabio Capello has a lot of injured players. Also, ex-Arsenal player Andrey Arshavin, who has returned to Zenit is left behind the national team. Alexander Kokorin, Alexei Berezutsky and former Chelsea defender Yury Zhirkov are all out with different injuries. Head coach called Real Madrid’s forward Denis Cheryshev and RPL top goal scorer Artem Dzyuba.
Northern Ireland line-up: Carroll, Hughes, McAuley, Bruce, Lafferty, Davis, McCann, McGinn, Ferguson, Ward, Paterson.
Last three matches:
Northern Ireland 0 – Israel 2;
Malta 0 – Northern Ireland 0;
Northern Ireland 1 – Azerbaijan 1.
France line-up: Akinfeev, Anyukov, V.Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Granat, Denisov, Faizulin, Bystrov, Dzagoev, Shirokov, Kerzhakov.
Last three matches:
Portugal 1 – Russia 0;
Brazil 1 – Russia 1;
Iceland 0 – Russia 2.