Russia’s football coach, Fabio Capello, and his players agree that breaking Azerbaijan’s well-organized defense won’t be a walk in the park for the home World Cup 2014 qualifier on Tuesday.
Russia's World Cup qualifying campaign is going from strength to strength, with nine points from three games and no goals conceded see them sitting top of the group.
Capello's side put in a very good battling performance against a Portugal outfit ranked fourth in the world.
Azerbaijan are certainly not in the same class and are almost 100 places below the Russians in the FIFA rankings. However, the Italian is expecting a tough game on Tuesday.
“I know their head coach Bertie Vogts very well and I played against him,” Capello said. “Azerbaijan are a well-organized side and are disciplined. I have noticed that they have a number of decent footballers, who could cause us problems and also have the potential to create something out of nothing.”
Capello has hinted that he may make one or two changes to the starting line-up that played against the Portuguese.
Denis Glushakov may replace Viktor Faizulin, who was taken off at half-time.
The Lokomotiv midfielder put in a good performance, and he says he is expecting his side to be on the attack for long periods on Tuesday.
“I am pretty sure that Azerbaijan will look to defend in numbers when the game gets underway,” Glushakov stressed. “I am expecting a tough game and it will be tough to break them down. I don't think we’re in for an easy evening.”
Russia already have a healthy goal difference, and with Azerbaijan being one of the weaker sides in their group, the game could be a good chance to score even more goals.
However, captain Igor Denisov says he'll be happy if Russia win 1-0 and get all three points.
“The main thing for me is that we win,” he explained. “I am prepared for us to play scrappy football and get a 1-0 victory, but the most important thing is that we win. I really want to play in a World Cup, as I haven't played in one yet in my career. I am more than prepared to win every game 1-0, as long as we make it to Brazil.”
Russia will start as strong favorites when they take on Azerbaijan. Another big crowd is expected at the Luzhniki Stadium and it seems as though the national team are getting the fans back on side after a disappointing campaign at the Euros.
And if Capello's men get all three points on Tuesday, they will have taken another small stride in their quest to qualify for the next World Cup automatically.