Israeli football captain, Yossi Benayoun, believes his team has what it takes to repeat their home win against Russia in 2007 as the two sides gear up before Tuesday’s World Cup 2014 qualifier.
The Russians began their World Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland in Moscow, while Israel could only manage a 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan.
However, coach Fabio Capello is expecting a tough test on Tuesday and sees it as a crucial game if Russia are to qualify automatically for Brazil in two years’ time.
“I hope we’ll qualify directly,” Capello said at the pre-match news conference. “But it’ll be difficult to arrive on top after those ten games. You know, Portugal is a really strong team. But I’m focused only on the upcoming game. We’ll do it game by game, step by step.”
While the Russian players believe three points are more important than the performance.
“The game against Israel will be a hard one for us,” Igor Denisov, Russia’s captain, said. “Going back to the match with Northern Ireland the most important thing for us was getting all three points. Especially, as this was our first group game. I’m glad we managed to do this. Of course, the quality of we play is important. But for me the most important thing is that we get the result we need.”
“If we won’t show spectacular football against Israel, but collect a 2-0 win – I’ll be happy,” he added.
As for Israel, they'll be hoping to repeat the home victory they achieved over Russia five years ago when a last minute goal almost ended the visitors’ hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008.
And Israel captain Yossi Benayoun believes another win for his country is possible.
“I can only saw that back then Russia was a great team,” he stressed. “Even now they have a lot of quality players. I think their game will be the same as it was before. The difference is that the last game was important for Russia, but not for us. And now the game is important for both sides. So I think it’ll be more pressure on both sides. Hopefully, we’ll do the same result in the game.”
In the other Group F games on the night, Portugal host Azerbaijan, while Northern Ireland entertains Luxembourg.
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