Taking a cap off to Russia’s solid start (Video)

On a night where Roy Hodgson’s three lions roared to a 5-0 win over Moldova in the opening round of the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, Hodgson’s predecessor also enjoyed a productive victory to kick start Russia’s qualifying campaign.


Similar to England, Russia were fully expected to deliver an opening round victory over an inferior side. It may not have been the best game of football ever played but the manner of victory will surely put Fabio Capello in good spirits. Northern Ireland made it difficult for their Russian opponents but in the end could not resist the flowing passing move that led to Russia’s opening goal, finished clinically by Viktor Fayzulin.


Shirokov’s confident penalty served to kill off the tie and condemn Northern Ireland to an opening round defeat. While Russia’s performance did drop during the second half their ability to see off the match is a much needed attribute that a certain Italian tactician will no doubt develop with his new national side.


Russia created numerous chances in the first half, Alexander Kerzhakov notably squandering a few decent opportunities. Capello will no doubt be working with his forward to ensure a more clinical touch will be provided to promising attacking moves. Israel and Portugal will provide stiffer tests for Capello’s men in their next two fixtures which will give the Russian fans a sense of how realistic a top spot finish could be.


Tomos Llewellyn



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