Portugal is Russia’s group nemesis

September 8th, 2012 - 1:50 pm ICT by IANS  

St. Petersburg, Sep 8 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s two World Cup qualifiers against Portugal will decide the winner of Group F, former Russian goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev said.

But the 33-year-old Zenit St. Petersburg stopper, who quit international football last month to spend more time with his family, said the real tests will come in October and next June.

“I think there will be two decisive matches - the home game in October in Moscow and the away game in June in Portugal. It’s clear these will decide the outcome,” said Malafeev.

The task is not beyond Russia, he said.

“If everything is given, and the tactics are right, then it’s possible to outplay any team.”

Russia’s other opponents in Group F are Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.

Malafeev has 29 caps for Russia and was the country’s first-choice goalkeeper at Euro 2012.

He was left to raise his two children on his own after his wife Marina died in a car crash in March last year.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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