Russia is hosting Slovakia at Kazan Arena in round 7 of Group H in the UEFA World Cup Qualifications. Russia is in 2nd place with 13 points, and they have been solid on both ends so far. Slovakia is in 3rd place, but they still have a chance at getting to that 2nd place, or maybe even 1st place.
Russia was solid last month in these qualifications, and they are now undefeated in their last 3 games. Russia has scored 4 goals during that stretch, and they were able to keep 3 clean sheets. In their last game against Malta, Russia was the better team with 53% of ball possession, 7 shots on goal, 12 corner kicks, 3 big chances created, and a decent 81% of the correct passes. Even though they were playing against Malta at home, Russia has scored only 2 goals, but a win is a win, I guess. Dzyuba has scored 3 goals for Russia so far, while Fernandes has added 2 goals. Once again, Russia will be without Dzyuba in this cycle, but they still have some good players who can fill in and score a few goals. Russia is close to the World Cup, but they will still need a few more positive results, and I think they will.
Slovakia wasn’t playing well for a while, and they lost 2nd spot because of it, but Slovakia has bounced back nicely against Cyprus at home in their last game. Slovakia was dominant in that game with 64% of ball possession, 7 shots on goal, 7 corner kicks, 2 big chances created, and 85% of the correct passes. The first half was tough for Slovakia, but they were able to break through Cyprus’ defense. With 2 second-half goals, Slovakia has won this game 2-0. Slovakia is now 4 points away from 2nd place, but with a win in this game, they will get within 1 point from Russia, and that is when the adrenaline starts running. The bad thing for Slovakia is their strikers are not producing much, and Skrinar is their leading goalscorer with 2 goals. Slovakia has players from some big clubs all over Europe, but they are in desperate need of a striker, and unfortunately for them, there is no one to fill that position.
Russia still hasn’t lost a home game in these qualifications, and they haven’t lost any of their last 6 home games overall. Slovakia will need to focus on the defense because they don’t have a lot of offense, and for that reason, I think this game will end in a draw.