Russia coach Guus Hiddink has described tomorrow's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Finland in Helsinki as "the decisive game" and insists his side will be going all out for victory.
Russia sit second in Group Four, two points ahead of the Finns, while both teams have a game in hand on Germany, who lead the table by four points.
"If we win we will have all the chances to compete for first place in the group and if we lose we can give the chance to Finland for second place," Hiddink said. "But I am sure that this Russian team cannot simply play for a draw. It always plays openly and bravely, strives to score and win. That is our approach to football. It is the decisive game and only victory will let us compete for the ticket to World Cup 2010."
On their home turf Finland are very strong and it will be very difficult to set the same pressure as in Moscow on them.
Russia beat Finland 3-0 in their home fixture but Hiddink is wary of the Scandinavians, who held Germany to a 3-3 draw earlier in the campaign.
"At Lokomotiv Stadium we won 3-0 but at the same time we scored only once with two others being own goals," continued Hiddink, who takes charge of his first international since returning from a brief spell in charge of Chelsea. "On their home turf Finland are very strong and it will be very difficult to set the same pressure as in Moscow on them."
Aleksandr Kerzhakov is in the squad for the first time in more than a year but is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench with Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrey Arshavin starting in attack. Stuart Baxter's Finland kept alive their hopes of qualifying for a first world finals by coming from behind to beat Liechtenstein 2-1 on Saturday.