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FIFA Confederations Cup

Preview: Russia v Portugal

  • Russia top Group A after their opening-day defeat of New Zealand
  • Fernando Santos set to rotate his players
  • Gianluca Rocchi of Italy to referee the match

The hosts will defend their leadership of Group A at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 against the European champions, who conceded a late equaliser in their opening match against Mexico. Wednesday’s match at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow is already a sell-out.

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*Igor Borunov with Russia
*Russia are taking nothing for granted after overcoming New Zealand in their opening match and are well aware of the need to make adjustments when they take on altogether more challenging opponents in Portugal. After pressing the All Whites hard and pinning them back in their area, Stanislav Cherchesov’s side will need to be careful in their approach on Wednesday. As group leaders, the Russians will let the Portuguese take the initiative and try to make them pay for any defensive errors. 

Marco Monteiro with Portugal
Fernando Santos has announced that he intends to rotate his team throughout the tournament, but if Portugal are to rest players in their final match against New Zealand, they need to beat Russia. Concerned about his side’s defensive frailties against Mexico, Santos may well look to inject some pace in midfield in a bid to break down a Russia side that played a slower game in their tournament opener than the Mexicans did. Should he choose to do so, Gelson Martins, Nelson Semedo and Andre Silva could all figure in his starting XI. 

What you need to know
1 the shirt number worn by Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, who will win his 100th cap for his country against Portugal.

2 the number of Portugal players (Andre Gomes and Adrien) who were booked against Mexico and are just one more yellow card away from a one-match suspension. Russia will go into the game with none of their players on yellows. 

3 the number of times Russia have played Portugal in Moscow, with two of those games ending in wins for the home side, who did not concede a goal in any of them. The first of those victories came in 1983, in the days of the Soviet Union: a 5-0 UEFA European Championship qualifying win. A 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ qualifier ended in a 0-0 draw, and the last one ended 1-0 to the Russians in a 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifier in 2012.

*Possible line-ups  *Russia:  Igor Akinfeev; Igor Smolnikov, Georgy Dzhikiya, Viktor Vasin, Fedor Kudryashov, Yury Zhirkov; Denis Glushakov, Aleksandr Erokhin, Aleksandr Golovin; Dmitry Poloz, Fedor Smolov.

Portugal: Rui Patricio; Raphael Guerrero, Bruno Alves, Jose Fonte, Nelson Semedo; Andre Gomes, Gelson Martins, William Carvalho, Joao Moutinho, Andre Silva, Ronaldo.  

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