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

T

his is all good fun, but anyone who thinks United are 4th best in England for anything more than a blip is properly f***ing mental. And Domenech is properly f***ing mental.

megabrow (cufc)
Schneiderlin must join United - Domenech

I

f the answer is Matt Phillips, the question should never be Who is one of your major transfer targets?

jelasfirsttouch
The Twosome Gossip

I

s this Chris Smalling playing the 'Race' card?

hump3.
Smalling wants United race

Footer 365

Roberto Firmino eyeing trophy success at Liverpool after saying bye to Hoffenheim

Liverpool's £29m summer signing Roberto Firmino hopes to celebrate "a lot of success" at Anfield and 'can't wait test himself in the Premier League'.

Manchester United 'agree Matteo Darmian fee with Torino'

Manchester United have agreed a fee with Torino for Italy right-back Matteo Darmian, according to Sky Italia sources.

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba not joining Barcelona this year

Barcelona have insisted they are "not planning" a move for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba this calendar year.

Mail Box

Doesn't Delph To Arsenal Make More Sense?

We have reaction to our Top Ten regarding Philipp Lahm and Dave Mackay, why we all love Harry Kane, Fabian Delph to Arsenal and what United can get away with...

Why Is Kane More Likeable Than Carrick?

A Mailbox which covers topics including Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Robin van Persie, handballs, transfer reporting and Rodgers bingo. It's not us being mean...

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