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Road to Brazil


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Road to Brazil

Third placed Portugal will be hoping to get their World Cup qualification campaign back on track when they face Group F leaders Russia at the Estadio da Luz on Friday.

National team coach Paulo Bento will have to make do without suspended Pepe while Ronaldo, Nani and Fabio Coentrao are all racing to recover from small knocks.

Elsewhere, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has almost fully recovered from a hamstring injury and is likely to start on the bench for Belgium in their game against Serbia.

Marc Wilmots’ men are top of Group A on 16 points, ahead of Croatia on goal difference, and a win would guarantee at least second place.

Group winners qualify for next year’s finals in Brazil, while the eight best European runners-up will face off over two legs for the remaining four places.

In group B, Italy will be looking to take another step towards qualifying for Brazil when they visit the Czech Republic.

The 2006 World Champions, who are unbeaten in qualifying so far, have won four of their five games, and another victory will see them eight points clear of their opponents.

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