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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Looks to Topple Croatia

ZAGREB, Croatia -- Russia will be looking to end Croatia's 32-match unbeaten home run in competitive matches and leapfrog Slavan Bilic's side at the top of Group E in the process, in their Euro 2008 qualifier Wednesday.

Bilic, however, is confident his team -- never beaten in a European or World Cup qualifer at home since it began playing them in 1994 -- can overcome fatigue and take a big step toward next year's finals in Austria and Switzerland after laboring to Saturday's precious 1-0 win at Estonia.

"We are running on fumes after a long season while the Russians are in better shape because they are not even halfway through theirs," Bilic told Croatian media.

"However, a lot is at stake against the Russians and I expect the players carrying the mantle in our team to rise to the occasion. We know a draw would be good enough, but we want to treat our fans to a win," he said.

Croatia leads the group with 16 points from six matches. Israel has 14 from seven, Russia 14 from six while England, which visits Estonia on Wednesday, has 11 points from six games.

The Croats will be at full strength, and their hopes will once again largely rest on the lethal finishing of striker Eduardo da Silva, who kept them in the driver's seat Saturday with his sixth goal in as many matches.

Bilic hinted that he would field Ivica Olic from the start to partner da Silva up front and give a weary looking Mladen Petric a rest, while AC Milan's Dario Simic appears set to replace Vedran Corluka at right back.

Russia coach Guus Hiddink will miss No. 1 goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev, who is out for the rest of the year after tearing his knee ligaments while livewire midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is doubtful with a thigh injury.

Hiddink was not entirely happy with his team's performance in a 4-0 stroll over Andorra, in which Kerzhakov scored a hat trick, and said poor finishing that denied them more goals could be costly against Croatia.

"Our finishing wasn't good, we wasted too many scoring chances and against a good team like Croatia we just can't afford to make the same mistakes," the Dutchman said.

Probable teams:

Russia: 16-Vyacheslav Malafeyev; 2-Vasily Berezutsky, 5-Sergei Ignashevich, 22-Alexander Anyukov, 27-Alexei Berezutsky; 17-Konstantin Zyryanov, 18-Yuri Zhirkov, 20-Igor Semshov, 15-Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (or 23-Vladimir Bystrov); 10-Andrei Arshavin, 11-Alexander Kerzhakov.

Croatia: 1-Stipe Pletikosa; 2-Dario Simic, 4-Robert Kovac, 3-Josip Simunic, 8-Marko Babic; 11-Darijo Srna, 10-Niko Kovac, 19-Niko Kranjcar, 14-Luka Modric; 18-Ivica Olic, 22-Eduardo da Silva.