Russia can move a giant step closer to sealing automatic entry to World Cup 2022 when they take on Group H’s bottom side Cyprus in their penultimate qualifying match.
Valeri Karpin‘s side are already assured of a top-two finish, but they will be looking to hold off Croatia to finish top as only one side is guaranteed a place at Qatar 2022.
As for Cyprus, they are likely to go with a similar side to the one that started the 2-2 draw with Malta last month.
Fotios Papoulis and Pieros Sotiriou both got off the mark with their first goals this campaign in that four-goal draw and will be looking to build on that here.
Russia possible starting lineup:
Safonov; Sutormin, Diveev, Dzhikiya, Kudryashov; Fomin, Barinov, Zabolotny; Miranchuk, Smolov, Bakaev
Cyprus possible starting lineup:
Michael; Andreou, Sotiriou, Antoniadis; Demetriou, Kyriakou, Kastanos, Ioannou; Loizou, Sotiriou, Papoulis
Russia know that a win here may need them requiring just a draw away at Croatia to confirm automatic entry for Qatar 2022 in Sunday’s final round of fixtures.
For that to happen the hosts need to slightly improve their goal difference. While they do not tend to score more than twice in a game, we can see that changing here.
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