Northern Ireland vs. Russia, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Preview and TV schedule

Alex Livesey

Northern Ireland will hope they can upset the odds against Russia, but the hosts are huge underdogs in what is a severe mismatch.

Update: This game has been postponed until Saturday due to snow.

Northern Ireland will play the part of heroic underdogs as they face the might of Russia at Windsor Park on Friday.

The hosts have not won in their past 12 international games, but will hope to give Fabio Capello's Russia a test when the two sides meet. Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has some injury problems with Kyle Lafferty suspended and the man who was set to replace him, Will Grigg, injured. Despite that, there are plenty of serviceable alternatives in Inverness' in-form striker Billy McKay and Burnley's Martin Paterson, so it will not impact the hosts' chances much.

Fabio Capello will likely carry on with young striker Alexander Kokorin and Alexander Kerzhakov up front, despite the latter's poor form. Igor Akinfeev, in goal for the Russians, will be hoping to extend an all-time record and chalk up a 10th consecutive clean sheet.

The hosts may have little hope of victory, but they have had some recent near misses at collecting scalps of more illustrious teams, such as Portugal, and will hope they can at least put in a good performance. It can be a difficult place to visit, although Russia currently look set to coast into qualification. If that situation is any different after the final whistle here it would be a major surprise.

Match Date / Time: Friday, March 22 at 7:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland

TV: ESPN 3 (U.S.), Sky Sports 3 (U.K.)

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