Preview: Russia vs. Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo
© PA Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to this evening's mouth-watering tie between Group F leaders Russia and Portugal.

Russia and Portugal go up against each other in a mouth-watering 2014 World Cup qualifier tonight with both sides heading into the meeting with maximum points.

Fabio Capello's Russian side sit at the top of the standings following a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland and a 4-0 thumping of Israel, while Paulo Bento's men have secured second place courtesy of a 2-1 away win at Luxembourg and a 3-0 victory over Azerbaijan.

The former England coach could opt for Zenit St. Petersburg's Aleksandr Kerzhakov to lead the line but there is no place for Arsenal outcast Andrey Arshavin or Reading forward Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Meanwhile, Portugal have been handed a late boost with the return of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who was an initial doubt for this international period after picking up a shoulder injury during his club's El Clasico contest against Barcelona in La Liga.

Manchester United winger Nani should also start for the away side in an attacking threat alongside his former teammate Ronaldo and Helder Postiga.

Current form:

Russia: DLDWW
Portugal: WDWWW

Possible lineups:

Russia: Akinfeev; Anyukov, Ber'skiy, Ignashevich, Kombarov; Denisov, Shirokov, Faizulin; Dzagoev, Kerzhakov, Bystrov

Portugal: Rui Patricio; Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao; Moutinho; Veloso, Meireles; Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo

Sports Mole says: 1-2

Fabio Capello
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Result: Russia 2-0 Northern Ireland
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