Russia has found themselves sitting in, what some are saying is, a weaker group of the World Cup draw. Can they take advantage of this opportunity as well as their stellar defense to advance?
Russia find themselves in an interesting position. Winning their qualifying group wasn’t enough to land them with a seeded place in the draw, even though that win came at the expense of no less a team than Portugal. On the other hand, they were lucky enough to land in Group H, which is without doubt one of the weakest of the eight groups.
On paper, a Russian side which contains names such as Roman Shirakov and Victor Fayzulin in midfield should not have too much trouble with the likes of South Korea and Algeria, even though both have a reputation for causing problems for fancied teams in this tournament. The big question is likely to be how they fair against seeds Belgium, as that looks to be the game which will determine whether they finish in first or second place.
Russia’s defense is particularly impressive, having conceded just five goals in qualifying and in Fabio Capello, who managed England at the last World Cup, they have an astute and experienced manager. Aleksandr Kerzhakov, meanwhile, looks a solid bet to be their top goal scorer in the tournament – as he was in qualifying, with a best price of 3.75 at BetVictor.
At present, 888.com have Russia at just 1.45 to qualify from this group, and it would certainly be a brave person who took up the 3.25 that BetVictor offer on them not doing so. However, their tournament may not go much further than that. Failing to win the group lands them with a likely tie against Germany in the second round, whilst winning it should give them another game against Portugal, which is why the best price you will get on them being eliminated at that stage is 2.38 through SkyBet. Either way, it is hard to see them still being there in the quarter finals.