Russia v Northern Ireland preview
Michael O'Neill's men begin their campaign
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: 07/09/12 4:09pm
Michael O'Neill: First qualifier with Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland begin their World Cup qualifying campaign with a tough looking trip to Russia.
Michael O'Neill embarks on his first qualifying match in charge after taking over from Nigel Worthington late last year.
The Northern Irish have not qualified for the World Cup since 1986 and they have a difficult task on their hands to come through Group F.
Portugal and Russia are firm favourites to progress from a group also containing Israel, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.
O'Neill goes into the game with one of his strongest squads available to him with Fulham's Aaron Hughes back in the squad after being persuaded out of retirement earlier this year.
With Manchester United's Jonny Evans and Hughes's Fulham team-mate Chris Baird and West Brom's Gareth McAuley included, then O'Neill could name and all-Premier League defence.
Newcastle left sider Shane Ferguson has been ruled out through injury, along with Burnley's Martin Paterson, Aberdeen's Niall McGinn and Paddy McCourt of Celtic.
Chris Brunt and Steven Davis are both available and could line-up in central midfield whilst Kyle Lafferty - now at Sion looks set to take a lone striking role.
New Russia boss Fabio Capello takes charge of his first competitive game since leaving England.
The Italian has already looked to make some sweeping changes to the Russian squad, which failed to live up to expectations at Euro 2012.
Roman Pavlyuchenko, Andrey Arshavin and Pavel Pogrebnyak have all been left out.
Yuri Zhirkov and Sergei Semak were both sidelined through injury with Igor Denisov named by Capello as his new captain.
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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 7th Sep - Group F
Russia2 - 0N Ireland
Azerbaijan1 - 1Israel
Luxembourg1 - 2Portugal
Fri 7th Sep - Group C
Kazakhstan1 - 2Rep Ireland
Germany3 - 0Faroe Islands
Fri 7th Sep - Group G
Liechtenstein1 - 8Bos & Herz
Lithuania1 - 1Slovakia
Latvia1 - 2Greece
Fri 7th Sep - Group I
Georgia1 - 0Belarus
Finland0 - 1France
Fri 7th Sep - Group B
Malta0 - 1Armenia
Bulgaria2 - 2Italy
Fri 7th Sep - Group D
Estonia0 - 2Romania
Holland2 - 0Turkey
Andorra0 - 5Hungary
Fri 7th Sep - Group A
Croatia1 - 0Macedonia
Wales0 - 2Belgium
Fri 7th Sep - Group E
Albania3 - 1Cyprus
Slovenia0 - 2Switzerland
Iceland2 - 0Norway
Fri 7th Sep - Group H
Montenegro2 - 2Poland
Moldova0 - 5England
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||25|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I