For Russia, a guaranteed trip to Brazil is pretty simple—win two games and win Group F, thus automatically qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Or win against Luxembourg and hope Portugal lose to Israel. Or, well, any other number of scenarios.
Russia could certainly complicate things for themselves. But one way or another, their destiny is currently in their hands.
Luxembourg's destiny was taken out of their hands long ago—the team is fifth in Group F with just six points—but the squad will be hoping to put a damper on Russia's World Cup bid. That will be easier said than done—Russia won the last meeting between these countries, 4-1.
When: Friday, October 11 at 2:30 p.m. EDT (7:30 p.m. BST)
Where: Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Luxembourg will have their hands full against Aleksandr Kokorin, who scored two goals against them in September, along with Alexander Kerzhakov. The forward pair torched the hosts for three total goals in the last contest and can be expected to pose a threat in this game.
And after losing two straight games to Portugal and Northern Ireland, Russia has responded with a barrage of goals, defeating Luxembourg and Israel by a combined score of 7-2.
With a second match against Luxembourg—and a final matchup against Azerbaijan, currently at the bottom of the Group F table—the Russians will try to avoid complacency against clearly inferior opponents with a World Cup bid hanging in the balance.
Which team wins?
Russia has everything to play for in this game and is the vastly superior side, so it's hard to imagine them blowing this game. And unless the Russians lose their next two games, a play-off is basically guaranteed, even if they don't win the group, so it's not as though they need to put too much pressure on themselves.
Even at home, Luxembourg seems dramatically overmatched in this contest, especially when you consider they've won just one match in eight qualifiers.
Russia wins, 2-0.