Russia begin their preparations for next summer’s World Cup with a friendly against Serbia in Dubai on Friday.
Fabio Capello’s men qualified for Brazil 2014 with something to spare, after beating Portugal to top spot in Group F, and are 10/11 (1.91) favourites with bet365 to maintain the feel-good factor with a morale-boosting win.
Having missed out on a place in the tournament, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s youthful team are available at 3/1 (4.00) to continue their recent resurgence with a victory on neutral ground over experienced opponents.
The Sbornaya were forced to settle for a draw in their final qualifying fixture against Azerbaijan, and you can get odds of 12/5 (3.40) on them being held to another stalemate here.
While their qualification was never in doubt over the last few group games, Capello would undoubtedly have been alarmed to see some evidence of defensive uncertainty creep into his usually solid side.
Having conceded no goals in their opening four fixtures, Russia managed only one clean sheet in their final six, with the modest attacks of Northern Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan all finding the net against them.
This weakness is sure to be tested against an Orlovi team that have found their shooting boots in recent games, with 10 goals scored in their last three games thanks to the emergence of talented youngsters such as Dusan Tadic, Filip Duricic and Stefan Scepovic.
Nevertheless, considering their opponents have scored 12 times in just the last four fixtures, Serbia are unlikely to be the only ones having some joy in front of goal, particularly as they have only kept three clean sheets in their previous 12.
A bet on over 2.5 goals would have paid out in three of Russia’s last four games, as well as two of the last three involving Mihajlovic’s outfit, meaning odds of 27/20 (2.35) are not to be ignored when they go face to face in a friendly match.
|Over 2.5 goals for a 1pt stake at 27/20 (2.35) with bet365
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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.