MX23RW : Wednesday, August 4 05:41:58| >> :600:2315826:2315826:
Mar 30, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Štadión Antona Malatinského
SlovakiaSlovakia
2-1
RussiaRussia
Skriniar (38'), Mak (74')
Hromada (45+3')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Fernandes (71')
Zhemaletdinov (17'), Dzyuba (32')

Preview: Slovakia vs. Russia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's World Cup qualification clash between Slovakia and Russia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Group H leaders Russia head into Tuesday's encounter against Slovakia with the opportunity to move seven points clear of their opponents.

On the back of successive draws, Slovakia welcome the 2018 World Cup hosts to Trnava aware that they can ill-afford defeat if they want to keep pace with the nations vying for a playoff spot.


Match preview

Russia players applaud the fans after the match on March 27, 2021© Reuters

Russia conclude their World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to Croatia, a fixture which means that they can never afford to take their foot off the gas throughout the duration of this group.

However, with hard-fought wins over Malta and Slovenia having already been recorded, Stanislav Cherchesov will sense an opportunity to secure their place in the finals before that occasion.

Russia showed vulnerabilities in each of their recent triumphs, but they are currently the only nation in this six-team group who are showing any kind of consistency in the final third.

Artem Dzyuba already has three goals to his name, helping his side end their previous run of six matches without success in style.

Although clean sheets remain an issue for this team, Cherchesov will feel that Russia can make it three successive victories providing that their talisman maintains his current hot streak.

Slovakia's Milan Skriniar celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on March 27, 2021© Reuters

At a time when Russia have gotten back on track, Slovakia have now gone three games without a win, finding themselves fortunate to avoid a shock defeat to Malta after a goalless draw in Cyprus.

Having trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes, Stefan Tarkovic will take the positives from his side battling back to earn a share of the spoils.

Nevertheless, failing to defeat two teams ranked no higher than 100th in the FIFA World Rankings is a major blow ahead of their participation at Euro 2020.

While Marek Hamsik will come back into the squad for the upcoming major tournament, Tarkovic desperately requires other members of the group to start producing their club form on the international stage.

Despite the expectation that they can only improve on Tuesday night, Slovakia have only defeated Scotland over 90 minutes in their last 10 fixtures.

Slovakia World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • D
  • D

Slovakia form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D

Russia World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • W
  • W

Russia form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W


Team News

Russia manager Stanislav Cherchesov pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Tarkovic will make a number of alterations to his Slovakia XI, potentially drafting in the likes of David Strelec and Robert Bozenik.

Jakub Holubek is also expected to feature at left-back, deputising for David Hancko, who sustained an injury against Malta.

Albert Rusnak may be drafted back into the starting lineup after being dropped for Saturday's fixture.

Russia midfielder Aleksei Miranchuk is in line to be handed a recall due to Aleksandr Golovin's early withdrawal versus Slovenia.

Cherchesov restricted veteran Yuri Zhirkov to 68 minutes at the weekend, possibly with the view of keeping the 37-year-old at left wing-back for this game.

Slovakia possible starting lineup:
Kuciak; Koscelnik, Valjent, Skriniar, Holubek; Hrosovsky, Kucka, Gregus; Rusnak, Bozenik, Mak

Russia possible starting lineup:
Shunin; Semenov, Dzhikiya, Kudryashov; Fernandes, Kuzyaev, Ozdoev, Miranchuk, Zhirkov; Zhemaletdinov, Dzyuba


SM words green background

We say: Slovakia 1-1 Russia

On current form, there is little reason for anyone to give Slovakia much of a chance on Tuesday night. However, this group of players can still match their opponents for ability, and we expect a stronger performance from the hosts in this game.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data


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AustraliaAustralia1441634
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Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

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