Russia and Israel enter their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night in St. Petersburg with each facing a must-win situation.
While Portugal remain on top of Group F in UEFA qualifying, Russia only trails by two points, and with an extra match still to play. A win could put Russia on top of the group for good position to win the automatic trip to Brazil.
Meanwhile, Israel can tie Russia for the second-place spot with a win. Whichever team finishes second will have a playoff for a spot in the 2014 World Cup.
This contest could separate the best from the rest in the group or it could make the situation even more jumbled. That certainly makes this a match to watch, so take a look at this preview to make sure you do not miss a second of the action.
When: Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 11 a.m. ET; 4 p.m. BST
Where: Petrovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia
Watch: ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: ESPN3
Odds: Russia (1-3); Israel (9-1); Draw (15-4) via Paddy Power
Top Storyline: Can Russia Continue Its Domination at Home?
While Russia did have a disappointing loss in Northern Ireland, the Russians have been much better at home. They have won all four of their matches at home while outscoring opponents, 8-1.
This will be Russia's final appearance at home during qualifying, so the squad has to make it count. A win will give it a clean sweep over every team in the group and allow it to sit in good position going forward.
On the other hand, a loss or draw would leave serious questions for the final two matches.
Prediction: Russia 1, Israel 0
While Russia did come away with a 4-0 win the last time these teams played in Israel, the visitors will have much more confidence this time around.
Israel has shown the ability to maintain possession and keep opposing chances to a minimum while Tomer Hemad can put Israel on the scoresheet at any point with his skill around the net.
Unfortunately, Israel still does not have enough talent to match up with Russia, which is as strong defensively as anyone in this group. Israel will be unable to get more than a handful of opportunities, leading to a shutout win for Russia.
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