Republic Of Ireland vs Russia Match Preview

Republic Of Ireland vs Russia Match Preview


Two of the games great tactical minds will go head to head when Giovanni Trapattoni leads the Republic of Ireland into a vital Euro 2012 qualifying tie against Dick Advocaat’s Russia.

Giovanni Trappatoni will look to continue the Republic's perfect start to Euro 2012 qualifying.
The Republic of Ireland are the early Group B leaders after consecutive wins against Armenia and Andorra to start their qualifying campaign. Forward’s Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle have both opened their goal scoring accounts, and will lead the Irish attack here in their toughest test of the group stage so far. The Republic of Ireland will be buoyed by the fact they have lost only one of their previous 14 competitive home games.

Trappatoni this week acknowledged that Russia are the “top seeds” in Group B and spoke confidently of his teams preparation for this tie. “We have prepared well and will not make it easy for them as we continue to lay the foundations to qualify for the European Championship finals,” Trappatoni told the UEFA website.

Aston Villa center back Richard Dunne and Blackburn Rovers midfielder Keith Andrews are injury doubts for the Irish.

Russia Looking to Rebound

Russia are one of the favorites to qualify for Euro 2012 and opened up with a comfortable 2-0 victory in Andorra. However, the Russians suffered a shock setback at home to Slovakia in their last game, when a Miroslav Stoch goal gave Slovakia a 1-0 win in Moscow.

Pavel Pogrebnyak scored both goals in Andorra and will potentially feature in a dangerous attacking lineup for Russia here alongside a dangerous London based trio. Andrey Arshavin of Arsenal, Roman Pavlyuchenko of Tottenham Hotspur and Yuri Zhirkov of Chelsea could all feature for Russia. Pavlyuchenko is a doubt with an ankle injury.

Advocaat is well aware of the difficulty a trip to Dublin brings, and played down the top seeed tag, telling the UEFA website “it would be wrong to call us favorites. We face a solid team that battled with France in the World Cup playoffs, only losing in extra time.”

Familiar Foes

Many players on the field will be familiar with their opposition in this game. Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko play together at Tottenham Hotspur, Irish winger Aiden McGeady plays his club football in Russia, and many players from both teams compete against each other regularly in the English Premier League.

Key Players

Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland) – The Irish could face a difficult time keeping possession against an impressive and athletic Russian midfield. If this proves to be the case, Ireland must have the ability to attack directly and in lightning strike fashion. Keane is a fast and clever forward with the ability to get in behind the Russian backline and finish. His spearhead play will be vital to any success the Republic achieve here.

Andrey Arshavin (Russia) – In the midfield area, particularly central it is Russia who have the superior ability in this game. Russia will look to keep the ball and build attacks that allow 2 or 3 midfielders to join the attack from deep. The ability and movement of Arshavin will be a key factor here, and he could give Ireland fits as they struggle to deal with him.



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