Russia coach Fabio Capello claimed "nobody" wanted Sweden after being drawn with them in the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers.
The duo lead the field in Group G, which also contains Austria, Montenegro, Moldova and Liechtenstein, with the top two qualifying automatically for the finals in France.
Despite coaching the top-ranked team in the group, Capello is wary of the threat posed by Sweden and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
"The group is a tough one," he said. "We have Sweden who I know well and Montenegro who I know even better having come up against them with England.
"I don't know much about Austria, but they're all teams who came close to reaching the World Cup. I have respect for all our opponents and there will be lots of difficult matches.
"Sweden are a team that nobody wanted in their group. Now we have to play against a team with a player I know very well – Zlatan Ibrahimovic."
Capello's caution was shared by Sweden coach Erik Hamren, who singled out Russia as group favourites.
"Russia will be seen as group favourites, partly because they are the only team to have qualified for the World Cup," he remarked. "They also won their World Cup qualifying group ahead of Portugal and that's impressive.
"Austria are another very good team and will only get better. They're a young side with lots of potential.
"It's going to be a fantastic challenge."
Austria coach Marcel Koller also tipped Russia as the team to beat, adding: "Russia will be favourites but we all know what Sweden and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are capable of."