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Four places left for South Africa

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-11-18

Portugal, Russia, Ukraine are amongst the last eight teams still in the race to qualify for the World Cup on Wednesday.

Bosnia and Portugal's match should be an interesting encounter. Bosnian coach Miroslav Blazevic has promised some savage entertainment. Ever the eccentric handler, he nevertheless worked wonders with Croatia when he took them to the semi-finals in 1998 where they led France before losing 2-1.

"In the next few days I will have to create such an atmosphere among the players so they attack the Portuguese like hungry wolves," the 74-year-old said in an interview with Bosnian daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz.

The Bosnians can take great heart that not only will there be no Cristiano Ronaldo as in the first leg, but that they hit the woodwork three times in the first leg.

With this in mind, the Portuguese are convinced they should go all out in attack to get what could be a crucial away goal.

"When it is necessary to defend, we have to do it well, but we will attack when the possibility arises," said Chelsea's veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho, who was a member of the side that reached the 2006 World Cup semi-finals.

"We are not going to play defensively, because if we score, that will complicate things for them."

Coach Guus Hiddink is optimistic Russia will make it to the 2010 World Cup despite play-off rivals Slovenia grabbing an away goal.

Ahead of Wednesday's second leg in Maribor, Hiddink said there was no cause for panic.

"Of course, I was disappointed with the result," the Dutchman said.

"We were leading 2-0 and had plenty of chances to increase our advantage.

"But I thing there's no need to go from one extreme to another. We did not lose the first match, we won it! And there's no room for panic."

Ukraine star Andrei Shevchenko has warned his teammates to be prepared for a tough battle against Greece.

"We and Greece have a 50-50 chance to reach next year's finals," Shevchenko said.

"In Athens we played very good in defence and, I believe, we could repeat such a performance in Donetsk."

In the American group, Costa Rica will try to win in Uruguay after losing at home (1-0).

Date created : 2009-11-18


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