Odds Russia Will Win World Cup 2014
Russia returns to the World Cup for the first time since 2002. Since Italian Fabio Capello took over the reins as the squad’s manager in the summer of 2012, Russia has only lost twice, a pair of defeats in qualification matches to Portugal and Northern Ireland. With Capello in charge, the focus has been on developing a strong defense, an area that has been a traditional weakness for the Russians.
While things are looking up for Russia, they still remain a +200 underdog to win Group H, trailing the favorites, Belgium, and a middling 66/1 to win their first World Cup title. Russia has been fortunate to draw into one of World Cup 2014’s weaker groups. While they are unlikely to keep pace with Belgium, heavy -175 favorites to win Group H, they are a good bet to advance to the Round of 16, where they will likely struggle against the winner of Group G, 2014’s “Group of Death”.
Early World Cup Pick
Russia opens their World Cup Group Stage schedule against South Korea, a squad they played for the first time in a November 2013 friendly, topping the Koreans, 2-1. Ranked No. 55 in the world, South Korea was less than impressive during qualifying and will struggle to put points on the table during the Group Stage. The retooled Russian defense will face its first true test when they take on group favorites Belgium. While Russia is unlikely to need a win against Belgium to advance, keeping the powerful Belgian offense at bay will embolden the Russian squad moving forward. Russia concludes Group Stage action against Algeria, a squad they have never faced but whom they are expected to beat.
Russia Qualifying Results - How they got to the World Cup
Russia were impressive in qualifying, finishing first in a group that included Portugal, currently ranked No. 3 n the world. Russia’s outstanding defense was on display during qualifying; allowing just five goals against in 10 qualifying matches.
07/09/12 Russia 2 – 0 Northern Ireland
11/09/12 Israel 0 – 4 Russia
12/10/12 Russia 1 – 0 Portugal
16/10/12 Russia 1 – 0 Azerbaijan
07/06/13 Portugal 1 – 0 Russia
14/08/13 Northern Ireland 1 – 0 Russia
06/09/13 Russia 4 – 1 Luxembourg
10/09/13 Russia 3 – 1 Israel
11/10/13 Luxembourg 0 – 4 Russia
15/10/13 Azerbaijan 1 – 1 Russia
Russia World Cup Group Play Schedule
17/06/14 Russia vs. South Korea - Arena Pantanal
22/06/14 Belgium vs. Russia - Estadio do Maracanã
26/06/14 Algeria vs. Russia - Arena da Baixada
Russia Key Players
Alan Dzagoev MF CSKA Moscow – A vocal leader of Russia’s national side, the highly skilled midfielder plays a solid two-way game, but can also spearhead the squad’s offensive attack.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov FW Zenit – The most prolific goal scorer in Russian football history, Kerzhakov will be counted on to generate offense at Brazil 2014.
Alexei Berezutsky DF CSKA Moscow – The veteran defender is extremely versatile, can play multiple positions and is quite capable of joining the attack from the wing.