Kerzhakov plots Russian win
Alexander Kerzhakov has told skysports.com Russia are treating Wednesday's clash as they would a 'World Cup final'.
By Francisco Acedo
Last Updated: 17/10/07 12:49pm
Alexander Kerzhakov has told skysports.com the Russian national side are treating Wednesday's clash with England as they would a 'World Cup final'.
The Moscow meeting, live on Sky Sports 1 from 3.30 pm, could conclude with England qualifying for Euro 2008 or alternatively, a Russia win would put Guus Hiddink's side in pole position for Austria and Switzerland.
Sevilla striker Kerzhakov was given just a ten minute cameo against England in the corresponding fixture at Wembley but even though his side succumbed to a 3-0 defeat, he remains a model of optimism.
Of the opinion a hostile Russian crowd will lift Hiddink's side immeasurably; the talented front-man is predicting a tough test for Steve McClaren and his players.
"Russia prepare for this match against England like a final of a World Cup," he told skysports.com.
"For us the match is more important than in the last few years because only victory will do.
"The players want revenge after the defeat in London. I never have believed in a defeat by 3-0 but we never performed on the field like we worked at during the week.
"At Wembley it was impossible to do much in ten minutes for me.
"I believe that the help of the fans will be key. In Moscow it is very difficult for rivals to win and I expect a sensational atmosphere in the ground."
Much was been made of the artificial surface at the Luzhniki Stadium but Kerzhakov insists the pitch should not be made into an issue.
"The questionable surface is not so decisive. I have played in many fields and this is perfect," he added.
"The Russian players are very focused because this is our match.
"I am totally convinced that Russia is able to win this Wednesday.
"I am not interested in the blows for England, I think only of my team."