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Played
August 14, 2013 9:45 PM EAT
Windsor Park — Belfast
Referee:‬ T. Hagen‎
Attendance:‬ 11178‎
 
 

Northern Ireland-Russia Preview: Capello's men look to maintain perfect record

The visitors are on the hunt for a fifth straight win to continue their World Cup 2014 qualifying adventure in Group F with Michael O'Neill's boys in desperate need of a victory

By Ian Capasso

Fabio Capello
Getty Images
  PROBABLE LINEUPS

NORTHERN IRELAND

Carroll
Cathcart, McAuley, Evans, Bruce
Davis, McCann, Brunt, Ferguson
Ward, Paterson
RUSSIA

Akinfeev
Anyukov, V.B'skiy, Ignashevich, A.B'skiy
Denisov, Faizulin
Bystrov, Dzagoev, Shirokov
Kerzhakov

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill misses a pair of regulars on suspension, Fulham midfielder Chris Baird and FC Sion's Kyle Lafferty, and thus will be forced to reshuffle part of his line-up.

Rangers' Dean Shiels (knee) is also set to watch from the sidelines, meaning Championship duo Jamie Ward and Martin Paterson are expected to form a partnership up front.

Former England boss Fabio Capello brings a robust squad to Windsor Park as his Group F-leading side return to competitive action, with Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Alan Dzagoev, and Sergei Ignashevich all available and likely to start.

The Italian tactician once again has chosen to banish veterans Andrey Arshavin, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Pavel Pogrebnyak from the national team, but could hand 26-year-old Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Dmitry Tarasov his maiden cap after a last-minute call-up.

Russia could be without ex-Chelsea midfielder Yuri Zhirkov, who is struggling with a muscular injury, for the encounter.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Northern Ireland and Russia meet for only the second time in a competitive fixture in their history. The Eastern Europeans emerged victorious 2-0 back in September in Moscow in their first bout of consequence.
  • Every player named in Capello's squad for the match is based in the Russian Premier League, drawn from a total of seven clubs.
  • Russia striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov (pictured right) netted his first competitive goal for the national side since October 2010 against Israel in September, and sits four behind Vladimir Beschastnyk in second place on his country's all-time scoring chart.
  • Northern Ireland have not qualified for the World Cup finals since 1986, whilst the Russians are themselves without a berth since 2002.
  • Since their last finals appearance in 1986, Northern Ireland have not finished higher than fourth in a World Cup qualifying group.
  • Russia are yet to lose since Capello assumed the helm in July 2012, posting five wins and two draws in between friendlies and competitive fixtures.
  • Roy Carroll and Kyle Lafferty are the only two players in the Northern Ireland squad who do not ply their trade in England or Scotland at club level, putting their talents on display in Greece and Switzerland respectively.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
World Cup 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ Aug 14, 2013 Northern Ireland 1 - Russia 0
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World Cup 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ Sep 7, 2012 Russia 2 - Northern Ireland 0
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
25Roy CarrollGoalkeeper
18Aaron HughesDefender
3Craig CathcartDefender
-Daniel LaffertyDefender
22Gareth McAuleyDefender
14Shane FergusonMidfielder
7Niall McGinnMidfielder
14Oliver NorwoodMidfielder
6Steven DavisMidfielder
-Jamie WardStriker
11Martin PatersonStriker
-Michael McGovernGoalkeeper
1Maik TaylorGoalkeeper
-Alex BruceDefender
17Lee HodsonDefender
23Ryan McGivernDefender
8Corry EvansMidfielder
6Michael O'ConnorMidfielder
8Grant McCannMidfielder
-Billy MckayStriker
-William GriggStriker
-Josh MagennisGoalkeeper
Prediction
Editor's Prediction
NIR 0
Russia 3
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