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Russia have point to prove after long absence

Vasili Berezutski, the Russia defender, believes his side have a point to prove as they continue preparations for their opening World Cup match against South Korea in Cuiaba.

The last time the Russians featured in a World Cup was in 2002, where they were eliminated in the group stages having only accumulated three points.

This side, though - led by former England manager Fabio Capello - they managed to top their group ahead of Portugal in qualifying by playing an exciting brand of attacking football. Berezutski, who at 31 has 78 caps to his name, has paid tribute to the impact Capello has made since taking over back in July 2012. "We have things to prove in this World Cup," he said.

"It's been 12 years since Russia have participated in the World Cup so our objective is to play more than three games, try to qualify from our group and after that we will see. Capello demands discipline and it's a good thing because everyone is working hard, giving 100% in every session.

"On the other hand, nobody knows us as everybody plays in the domestic competition."

The Russians are without captain Roman Shirokov who was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Ki Sung-Yueng, the South Korea midfielder who used to play for Celtic, is hoping his side will be able to emulate the exploits of the 2002 World Cup side by progressing past the group stages.

South Kora are coached by Hong Myung-bo, the former sweeper who led the South Koreans to a memorable semi-final 12 years ago, knocking out Italy and Spain en route to a fourth-placed finish.

And with Russia and South Korea set to battle it out in the race for the second spot, tonight's match at Cuiaba could go a long way in determining the outcome of the group.

"We have a good memory from the last World Cup because we qualified through the group stage. So we also want to qualify in this one as well," Ki Sung-Yueng said.

"But it's not easy - it's going to be tough. We will suffer from every single game."

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