Russia vs SlovakiaWorld Cup, KO: 19:45 Oct 8, 2021, Kazan Arena
Russia will be aiming to keep up their pursuit of Croatia in Group H of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers as they host Slovakia at Kazan Arena. It has been a solid campaign for the Russians, who have an impressive record at home and should have the edge here.
Russia cruised through the previous set of qualifiers during the last international break as they were unbeaten in their three matches. First, they held Group H leaders Croatia to a 0-0 draw before claiming a pair of 2-0 victories over Cyprus and Malta.
Valeri Karpin's men have been generally impressive in these qualifiers, suffering just one defeat in six matches in the group. They are level on 13 points with Croatia, who are just ahead on goal difference.
While Russia have plenty of quality in attack, their impressive showing in the qualifiers can be attributed to a tight defence. They have kept clean sheets in their last three matches and will take plenty of confidence from the shutout against Croatia.
Slovakia were victorious in their previous qualifying fixture as they saw off Cyprus 2-0. They endured a frustrating first half but came to life after the break with Ivan Schranz opening the scoring while Martin Koscelnik added the second.
It was a welcome return to winning ways for Slovakia who had failed to secure a victory in their previous four matches stretching back to the Euros. It was also the first win in three qualifying matches for Stefan Tarkovic’s men and leaves them four points behind Russia on the table.
Slovakia have found things difficult on the road in these qualifiers and are winless in their two away matches. They have also struggled in attack lately and have failed to score in three of their last five matches across all competitions.
How the bookies view it
Russia are considered overwhelming favourites among the bookies with a home win priced at 5/6 by SBK. A victory for Slovakia is valued at 41/10 with SBK while a draw is set at odds of 13/5 with Sport Nation.
Head to head
Slovakia have a 4-3 edge with three draws from seven previous matches against Russia. The Russians only defeat in these qualifiers have come against Friday’s opponents as they were beaten 2-1 in the reverse fixture.
Players to watch
Russia will be without captain Artem Dzyuba and will look to Fyodor Smolov to provide the spark in attack. The striker was on target last time out against Malta and is priced at 7/4 by bet365 to get on the score sheet.
Defending has been pivotal for Russia in recent weeks as they have kept clean sheets in their last three matches. Georgi Dzhikiya and Fyodor Kudryashov often feature at the back for the hosts and will be targeting another clean sheet at 6/5 with bet365.
Anything else catch the eye?
This World Cup match between Russia and Slovakia will be played on Oct 8, 2021 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Russia vs Slovakia prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.