The Russians as well as the Portuguese are undefeated thus far after two games, winning both of their openers respectively. The home side defeated Northern Ireland and Israel, while the visitors defeated Luxembourg and Azerbaijan. Now, as the top teams in the group, they battle for supremacy.
Russia have the home advantage which is good for two reasons. First, the weather is past the freezing point. The players are used to it and therefore will have no problem to warm up and play their game. Second, the fans will be cheering them on throughout the entire match.
Portugal have an advantage of their own in Cristiano Ronaldo. He saved them from embarrassment against Luxembourg and has scored a total of eight goals in his last three games for Real Madrid. He will be the key factor and the team attacks will be built around his play. If Russia make one or two mistakes against him, they may pay the ultimate price.
Russia will rely on the likes of Alexander Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev to build up attacking plays and defensively, Igor Akinfeev will have to be on top of his game to stop the expected plethora of shots which may come his way in goal.
The match will be played at 11:00 A.M. EDT on ESPN 2, ESPN 3, and Watch ESPN.