The Confederations Cup hosts need to win to reach the semi-final stage and our tipster is backing the Sbornaya to get the result that they require
A place in the final four of the Confederations Cup is at stake when host nation Russia go head-to-head with Mexico on Saturday.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s side kicked off the campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win against New Zealand in St Petersburg, but the Sbornaya suffered a setback on Wednesday evening as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of European champions, Portugal.
Cherchesov’s charges were left to rue a dismal first half performance and, despite piling the pressure on Fernando Santos’ side in the second half, the Russians were unable to make the vital breakthrough.
Mexico, too, turned in a below-par first half display on Wednesday, with Juan Carlos Osorio’s side trailing Confederations Cup minnows New Zealand at the break. El Tri, though, turned the tie around in the second half, scoring twice to edge ahead of Cherchesov’s men in the standings, having picked up four points from their opening two games.
Mexico can be backed at 7/5 (2.40) with Betfair Sportsbook to move into the semi-final stage in style by beating the Sbornaya, with 5/2 (3.50) that the match that remains deadlocked at the end of 90 minutes – an outcome that would, of course, see El Tri eliminate Cherchesov’s side.
Russia, though, will surely not go down without a fight and there is 19/10 (2.90) that the host nation claim the win that they need to ensure their safe passage to the final four of the competition.
Despite being beaten by the European champions, Russia can take plenty of positives from a promising second-half showing against Portugal and if the Sbornaya can produce just a little more quality in the final third, they are certainly capable of piling the pressure on Juan Carlos Osorio.
The 56-year-old has taken Mexico to the brink of qualification for next summer’s World Cup in Russia, while El Tri have been beaten in just one of their last 15 matches, but Osorio still has his critics and a group stage exit from the Confederations Cup would see the pressure intensify on Mexico’s manager.
Former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez is likely to lead El Tri’s attack and there is no doubt that Mexico boast an abundance of talent in the final third of the pitch. Defensively, though, questions must be asked of Osorio’s men, for the 2015 CONCACAF Cup winners have kept a clean sheet in just one of their last six games.
Cherchesov’s conservative tactics proved costly against Portugal, but Russia know that failure to win this one will see them fall at the first hurdle and, therefore, the Sbornaya will surely adopt a more aggressive approach in this fixture.
That may well suit the hosts and the 19/10 (2.90) quote for the Russians to claim a vital victory could well offer decent value for punters ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash in Kazan.