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Russia looks to build on World Cup momentum in UEFA Nations League opener

UEFA Nations League Russia vs Turkey

Russia put in an excellent showing earlier this summer when they hosted the FIFA World Cup. The host nation defied all expectations to reach the quarterfinals and was just a penalty shootout away from edging past Croatia into the final four. Now, the Russians look to carry that momentum into their UEFA Nations League curtain raiser away to an in-form Turkey side.

  • Turkey is unbeaten in its last five matches.
  • Russia has never lost a competitive fixture against Turkey.
  • Russia has conceded just one goal in its last three contests with Turkey.

Turkey looking to make home advantage count

Turkey will have been aggrieved to have missed out on a place at the World Cup this year and will be looking to make amends on Friday night against Russia. This may not be the strongest Turkish side we have ever seen, but they can be confident of beating a Russian side that is also technically limited.

Fatih Terim has since left the Turkish job to be replaced by Mircea Lucescu, and he will be desperate to make a positive start to his tenure. You can back Turkey to take all three points in this match at a price of +130.

Russia, by way of comparison, are out at +225 to make a winning start on the road to the UEFA Nations League. A draw is priced only slightly higher at +250.

But if we have learned anything about this Russian side, it is that they are capable of springing a surprise. They came into this summer’s World Cup as the lowest-ranked team at the competition yet made it all the way to the last eight. A narrow 1-0 win for the visitors in this one comes in at +700.

Increased expectations now on Russian shoulders

That run of good form at the World Cup has turned up the expectation levels on this Russian group of players. However, with some of the older players retiring after the summer tournament, coach Stanislav Cherchesov will not have to bed in a younger group who will look to build on the momentum garnered.

Russia has the better head-to-head record between these two teams, having never lost a match to Turkey. Four previous matches between the countries have produced two wins for the Russians as well as two draws.

And despite being away from home, Russia may well fancy its chances against a Turkey side that has not played a competitive fixture for months. Russia is at +1200 to win from behind, while they are at +120 to win either half.

But with home advantage and the crowd behind them, there is no denying that the odds remain very much in Turkey’s favor. They are at the much shorter price of -150 to win either half, while you can back the Turks to score in both halves at +300 and to win both halves at +700.

Goals could be in the cards

Turkey has been playing a bolder, more attacking style of play with their top-heavy side and we could well see goals in this clash. OVER 2.5 goals in the match comes in at +135, while UNDER 2.5 goals is at the shorter price of -175.

Both teams have scored in each of their last four games and will be looking to extend that run here. You can back both teams to score Friday at +100, while a “No” to that particular outcome is at -138.

And for Turkey, their best hope of finding the back of the net would appear to come in the form of Everton striker Cenk Tosun. The 27-year-old is at +162 to score at any time during the game and at +450 to net either the first or last goal of the game.

Russian forward Artem Dzyuba is not far behind him. The Zenit attacker comes in at +250 to get his name on the scoresheet during the 90 minutes, while he is at +650 to break the deadlock.