Fabio Capello’s Russia get their campaign underway against South Korea tonight in this Group H clash. Russia will be favorites to get their campaign off to a good start against this Korean side. Kick-off is at 11.00 from the Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba.
Russia finished top of their qualification group with 22 points above Portugal. They finished with a record of 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats. There most recent friendly result was a 2-0 win over Morocco. South Korea finished 2nd in their qualification group behind Iran. They finished with a record of 4 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats. Their most recent friendly results in the build up to this tournament was a 4-0 defeat to Ghana.
The 23 year old is seen as the next big thing in Russian football and he will be the main goal scoring threat upfront for Capello’s side. The Dynamo Moscow striker scored 4 goals in qualifying and has established himself as one of the best strikers in the Russian top flight scoring 10 goals in 22 appearances. Russia are a strong team that is defensive and Kokorin will be their main outlet in attack.
The 21 year old impressed in the Bundesliga last year with his pace and dribbling ability seeing him become of Leverkuson’s best performers. Son scored 10 goals in 31 appearances in the Bundesliga last year an impressive strike rate for the wide man. He will be one of the few Korean players with experience of Champions league football. Son has scored 6 goals at International level and Korea will be hoping that he can use his pace to penetrate this Russian defence.
Russia are likely to line up with a 4-2-3-1 formation in a side that includes all their players plying their trade in Russia. Most of their side includes players from Russian giants CSKA Moscow, Zenit and Spartak Moscow. Vasili Berezutski will captain the side at the back. CSKA midfielder Alan Dzagoev will look to create in midfield. South Korea are likely to go with a 4-2-3-1 in a side which includes Bolton winger Lee Chung Yong and Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young.
Russia: Akinfeev; Eshchenko, Berezutskiy, Ignashevich, Kombarov; Shatov, Glushakov, Fayzulin; Zhirkov, Kokorin, Samedov
South Korea: S R Jung; S Y Yun, Y G Kim, H M Son, C Y Park, Y Lee, J C Koo, K Y Han, S Y Ki, C Y Lee, J H Hong
Russia are a well drilled side under Capello but do not possess the attacking flair to score a lot of goals. South Korea finished behind Iran which indicates the level they are playing at. I expect Russia to win narrowly maybe a 1-0 win. Russia to win 1-0 is 5/1 with Boylesports in what looks like an appealing bet.