Quarter-finals: France – Colombia – Belgium – Costa Rica
World Cup progress: Group stage
Team rating: 3
Top scorer: Kerzhakov, Kokorin (1)
The hosts of the next World Cup left no impression on Rio with an early exit, except for blushes on Fabio Capello’s face, writes George Rinaldi.
Russians let it slip
The Russians were sent packing from the 2014 World Cup as they failed to register a single win in Group H. Having been dealt a relatively kind group draw, their opener saw goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev make the howler of the World Cup to gift South Korea the lead and, despite a late goal fromAleksandr Kerzhakov, the Russians could only take a single point.
A tepid affair followed against Group winners Belgium with Divock Originetting with two minutes remaining to leave Russia on the brink of going home. Their fate was sealed when Algeria’s Islam Slimani controversiallylevelled from a corner when ‘keeper Akinfeev was targeted with a laser during a corner.
The Coach – Fabio Capello
Instead of accepting his side’s poor tournament, Capello used the incident in the final match as to explain why his side went out, as opposed to his side’s poor finishing and debate over team selection. A petty attempt to try to pin the blame on someone else left only blushes on the Italian’s cheeks.
Player of the Tournament – Dmitri Kombarov
In a pretty dire tournament, Dmitri Kombarov had a half decent showing at left-beck. The 27-year-old secured an assist and organised the defence well with his nation only conceding three goals in three matches. And this despite having played the majority of Spartak Moscow’s season in midfield.
Not for the right reasons, Igor Akinfeev provided Russia’s most memorable moment of their tournament, when he let slip a Lee Keun-Ho effort from range through his grip, to gift South Korea a lead in their opening Group H encounter.
|17-Jun-14||Russia||1-1||South Korea||Group H|
For a complete review of the 2014 World Cup, check out the next issue of Soccer Italia, written by the team at Football Italia and available on worldwide subscription.