Weblog: The football punter
Sexy Swedes can make it tough for Slutsky's side
Russia have got themselves into a right old state in Group G and I don't expect them to turn things around when they play Sweden in Moscow.
Fabio Capello finally got the boot after Russia lost 1-0 at home to Austria in June and it has been left to Leonid Slutsky – the CSKA Moscow manager – to turn things around.
Slutsky is used to success after winning two Russian titles in the last three years but even he may struggle to get Russia into a top two position.
They are stuck on eight points – eight adrift of Austria and four behind Sweden – after twice losing 1-0 to Austria and drawing 1-1 at home to Moldova.
Only a win against Sweden will give them a realistic chance but the Swedes are unbeaten in six games in the group and can rely on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has already scored five goals in qualifying.
All the pressure is on Russia to push for the win but Sweden are a sexy price to win the match.