Russia's first home outing in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group B brings them up against Slovakia and both teams will be looking to take maximum points after recording a pair of draws on the road to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
• Russia welcome Yuri Zhirkov back from suspension as they look to build on a 2-0 victory over Andorra, in which Pavel Pogrebnyak scored twice; one from open play and one from the penalty spot. "We made a good start with a victory, but we will need to play better against Slovakia," warned coach Dick Advocaat. "I think we are capable of qualifying."
• Russia squad
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (PFC CSKA Moskva), Vladimir Gabulov (FC Dinamo Moskva), Vyacheslav Malafeev (FC Zenit St. Petersburg)
Defenders: Aleksandr Anyukov (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Vasili Berezutski (PFC CSKA Moskva), Aleksei Berezutski (PFC CSKA Moskva), Sergei Ignashevich (PFC CSKA Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (Chelsea FC), Denis Kolodin (FC Dinamo Moskva)
Midfielders: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Everton), Vladimir Bystrov (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Konstantin Zyryanov (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Alan Dzagoev (PFC CSKA Moskva), Igor Semshov (FC Dinamo Moskva), Dmitri Torbinski (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Alan Kasaev (FC Rubin Kazan)
Forwards: Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal FC), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Pavel Pogrebnyak (VfB Stuttgart), Dmitri Sychev (FC Lokomotiv Moskva)
• Having taken three points against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia thanks to Filip Hološko's added-time goal, Slovakia are hoping for at least a draw against Russia. Coach Vladimír Weiss said: "I will make some squad changes, but we cannot just come to defend. And of course, that first win in Bratislava will help us to be mentally stronger." Stanislav Šesták and Tomáš Oravec miss out through injury, while young Jakub Sylvestr has headed off for duty with the Under-21s.
• Slovakia squad
Goalkeepers: Ján Mucha (Everton FC), Dušan Kuciak (FC Vaslui), Dušan Perniš (Dundee United FC)
Defenders: Peter Pekarík (VfL Wolfsburg), Martin Škrtel (Liverpool FC), Tomáš Hubočan (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Kornel Saláta (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Radoslav Zabavník (1. FSV Mainz 05)
Midfielders: Miroslav Karhan (1. FSV Mainz 05), Mário Pečalka (MŠK Žilina), Juraj Kucka (AC Sparta Praha), Zdeno Štrba (Xanthi FC), Kamil Kopúnek (FC Saturn Moskovskaya Oblasť), Marek Hamšík (SSC Napoli), Marek Sapara (MKE Ankaragücü), Vladimír Weiss (Rangers FC), Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahçe SK), Dušan Švento (FC Salzburg)
Forwards: Stanislav Šesták (MKE Ankaragücü), Erik Jendrišek (FC Schalke 04), Róbert Vittek (MKE Ankaragücü), Filip Hološko (Beşiktaş JK), Tomáš Oravec (MŠK Žilina)
• Russia's record in five matches against Slovakia reads W1 D3 L1 (W1 D2 L0 at home). Prior to those contests, the Soviet Union met Czechoslovakia on 12 occasions, producing the tally W6 D4 L2 (W3 D1 L1 at home).
• Róbert Vittek earned Slovakia a share of the spoils in their first 2006 World Cup qualifier against Russia in Moscow on 4 September 2004, the forward registering three minutes from time, cancelling out Dmitri Bulykin's 14th-minute opener for the hosts. The return fixture in Bratislava on 12 October the following year ended goalless.
• Those results helped Slovakia finish runners-up behind Portugal in Group 3 to earn a play-off with Spain, which they lost 6-2 on aggregate. Russia came in third in the section and did not go through.
• Aside from those qualifiers, the two sides have met in three friendly internationals, drawing 1-1 in Moscow on 31 May 2000 and securing a 2-1 home win apiece, with Slovakia prevailing in Kosice on 8 March 1995 and Russia in Moscow on 29 May 1994.
• The teams only crossed paths in UEFA European Championship action as constituent parts of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, the latter running out 4-2 aggregate winners in the second qualifying round of the 1976 edition.
• Czechoslovakia won the first leg 2-0 in Bratislava on 24 April 1976 and drew 2-2 in Kiev a month later on their way to winning the tournament that June, defeating West Germany 5-3 on penalties after drawing 2-2 following extra-time.
• That proved revenge for Czechoslovakia's 3-0 semi-final loss to the Soviet Union in Marseille during the 1960 UEFA European Championship. The victors went on to beat Yugoslavia 2-1 after extra time in the showpiece.
• The last competitive meetings between the former entities came in 1982 World Cup qualifying, with the Soviet Union triumphing 2-0 in Tbilisi on 28 October 1981 and drawing 1-1 in Bratislava the following month.
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