Russia's Anyukov won't relax

Russia defender Aleksandr Anyukov is more than aware of the threat posed by Northern Ireland to his side's domination of World Cup qualifying Group F.

Last Updated: 21/03/13 at 18:55 Post Comment

Aleksandr Anyukov: Wary of Northern Ireland threat

Aleksandr Anyukov: Wary of Northern Ireland threat

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Fabio Capello's men have claimed maximum points from their first four qualifying games - without conceding a goal - but Northern Ireland still enjoy an outside chance of finishing in the top two after claiming three points from draws against Luxembourg, Portugal and Azerbaijan.

Russia meet Michael O'Neill's team in Belfast on Friday night and Anyukov urged his team-mates to stay 100 per cent focused at Windsor Park.

He told the Russian Football Union's official website: "It will be a difficult game and we need to concentrate, but we all know what our own strengths are.

"As long as we don't relax then all will be well. They are a good team who play an English style of football. In principle all the British teams are in the same vein."

Referring to Northern Ireland's result in Portugal, in which Helder Postiga denied the visitors all three points with a late goal, Anyukov added: "I wasn't surprised.

"Any team can take points from the group leaders, even outsiders for qualification. I repeat, the main thing for us is that we don't relax."

Capello should keep faith with goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, who is looking to keep a 10th consecutive international clean sheet, while partnering Dynamo Moscow's Alexander Kokorin with Alexander Kerzhakov of Zenit St Petersburg in attack.

Northern Ireland boss O'Neill is looking for a first win since taking the job and can call on returning striker Martin Paterson while defender Chris Baird misses out through suspension.

Portugal, meanwhile, visit Ramat Gan with a view to wresting second place from Israel's grasp.

Eli Guttman's side currently edge the Selecao into third by virtue of a superior goal difference, generated principally through 6-0 and 3-0 victories over Luxembourg, who Portugal could only beat 2-1 in September.

Visiting coach Paulo Bento faces a nervous wait on the condition of Porto playmaker Joao Moutinho, who is struggling for fitness.

"I say this in all sincerity and using my common sense but Moutinho will not play unless he is 100 per cent ready," Bento said.

Luxembourg are ranked 151st in the world and host Azerbaijan, who have already earned creditable 1-1 draws against Israel and Northern Ireland. Luxembourg also took a point from the British team.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

f Klopp is available and willing to go there, they have to sign him up. Far better manager than Rodgers. The reason Liverpool fail in so many big games is the inflexible nature of their manager and his inability to find strikers who fit into his inflexible style of play. A feature of nearly every game that the team comes up short is the way the opposition midfield appears to overpower them. It's too easy.

Gab1965
Make Way For A Proper Genius, Brendan

B

est player award should not go to a player who's second best at all the importent categories (i.e goals, assists etc) just because his team is at the top. If you are not first you are last; if you're second you are the first loser ( looking at you Hazard). David De Gea for POTY.

mrbigstuff
Chelsea Not Worthy? Oh Please Stop It...

Y

ou can win five in a row or lose five in a row... Or in Carver's case you can win one in a row or lose five in a row.

black_waltz
Carver: I'm up to the job

Footer 365

Tom Cleverley credits Tim Sherwood for turning around Villa's fortunes

Tom Cleverley says Aston Villa have been transformed by Tim Sherwood's attacking mentality.

Tottenham move perfect for me, says Dele Alli

Dele Alli is looking forward to getting his Tottenham career started and feels it will be good for him to work under Mauricio Pochettino.

Robin van Persie plays first game in nine weeks for Man Utd

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie got an hour's play under his belt on Monday in his first game since February.

Mail Box

Klopp Over Rodgers? Not On Your Nelly

Liverpool fans have short memories and should give Rodgers more time, while Jose's tactics and claims are getting many more in a stew. It's the afternoon Mailbox...

Thank You And Goodbye, Mr Rodgers

The genius of Tactics Tim, time is up for Rodgers, the curious case of Eric Lamela, and the flaws of tactical voting - today's Mailbox is bursting at the seams...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company