Windsor Park

Next Game

N Ireland v Finland

Sunday, 29 March 2015, 17:00

European Qualifiers Group F

Last Game

Romania 2 - 0 N Ireland

Friday, 14 November 2014, 19:45

European Qualifiers Group F

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.

More of the games that matter

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

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

want to spend more time with my tit-for-tat Autobiographies . He probably didn't say.

megabrow (cufc)
Keane leaves Aston Villa

B

elieve in the dream Ashley. I have a hot tub, I still think I can get all The Saturdays in there for nekkid sexyfuntime. Failing that, Adele.

hump3.
Young: Man United target title

C

onclusions...we are truely living the dream now

dead yeti
Take Your Marks In The Premier League Sack Race

Footer 365

Premier League: Swansea manager Garry Monk defends Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers

Swansea manager Garry Monk has leapt to the defence of under-fire Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers.

Premier League: West Brom manager Alan Irvine sees a defensive weakness in Arsenal

West Brom manager Alan Irvine hopes Arsenal's gung-ho attitude will be their undoing at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

Premier League: Southampton manager Ronald Koeman confident of continued success

Manager Ronald Koeman believes Southampton can thrive this term and is relishing taking on the Premier League big boys.

Mail Box

Don't Write Arsenal Off Yet (For Third)

That's the message from the afternoon mailbox, which also suggests Manchester City should look to bin Manuel Pellegrini. Can he take them any further?

Sanchez: A Sliding Doors Moment For Pool

One Liverpool fan regrets the club's failure to sign Alexis Sanchez and thinks Brendan Rodgers and Co should now target the domestic cups. A lot has changed in 12 months...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property