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Yesterday Russia won the first match of the qualifying round of theWorld championship 2010 with Wales 2-1 showing an unconvincing game.

Let's confess: we were not worried about the result of that match before it star

Igor Akinfeev


ted. We looked through the list of the Welsh players with a forbearing smile and thought: "who can resist us, the semifinalists of Euro 2008?" Moreover nothing has changed in our team - neither squad, nor atmosphere, nor coach.

But life again showed that we could not make conclusions resting on such things as "atmosphere" or "attitude". These all are personal that means subjective impressions. Only the game can answer the question if anything has changed in the team.

Two previous qualifying rounds began for us with draws - with Slovakia and Croatia (then Israel). That should have put us on the alert. But no - we have started a new life!

But that cannot be true. The problems that our team has had for decades cannot have disappeared at once. The situation with Turkey that after winning bronze on World championship 2002 did not manage to get into Euro 2004 or World championship 2006, as well as with Greece that after gold of Euro 2004 missed out on World championship 2006 set one thinking. You should learn how to "digest" your success. Not everybody is capable of it.

The first half of the yesterday's match looked as if we managed to "digest" excluding the penalty that was wonderfully saved by Akinfeev. This penalty seemed absurdity. Pavlyuchenko was the best on the field, he shot at the goal from every possible point. He scored the penalty though adventurous, but success is never blamed. And the winner in this episode was not only forward but also the coach. Everybody told Guus not to add Pavlyuchenko into the starting eleven. But I again convinced myself how good that our coach does not know Russian. He is doing the way his experience tells him. Pavlyuchenko was one of the heroes on Euro, and he did not let the team down yesterday.

But his might-have-been partner in Spurs Andrei Arshavin looked frustrated. He tried to get the ball but everything failed. We know - why. He was deprived of his dream, and he himself said to abstract away from that he had to "turn over his head" but obviously yesterday his head would not turn over.

After the first goal everybody wanted our team to score another one before the break that would have ended the torment. But at the end of the first half we have loosened our grip and in the second half looked the way the used to be not of the Euro time, but of three or four years ago. And the goal of Wales was not at all an accident. Everybody ran cold and began recalling other results: Austria - France - 3:1, Romania - Lithuania - 0:3.

Though Hiddink does not know the word "panic". He let Pogrebnyak play, though his feelings to the national team were not at all known after his story with Euro 2008. It took him seven minutes to allay all doubts.

All is well that ends well! Maybe that is good for us that this match turned to be so difficult. That would make our team to look in the mirror and say that we are not afraid of anybody.

Igor Rabiner. Sport Express Daily, 11 Sep 2008

Russia 2 - 1 Wales


World Cup Qualifying - UEFA (Group Stage 2010) (Group Four)

Match Information
Stadium: Luzhniki Stadium
Attendance: 28,000
Match Time: 16:00 UK
Match Stats
Russia Wales
Shots (on Goal) 13(6) 8(3)
Fouls 16 15
Corner Kicks 5 3
Offsides 1 4
Time of Possession 54% 46%
Yellow Cards 0 4
Red Cards 0 0
Saves 4 5
Scoring Summary
Russia Wales
Roman Pavluchenko
(pen 22)
Gareth Bale
(pen miss 17)
Pavel Pogrebniak (81) Joe Ledley (67)
1 Igor Akinfeev (G)
2 Aleksandr Aniukov (D)
3 Denis Kolodin (D)
4 Sergei Ignashevich (D)
18 Yuri Zhirkov (M)
17 Konstatin Zurianov (M)
7 Dmitri Torbinsky (M)
8 Igor Semshov (M)
11 Sergei Semak (M)
10 Andrei Arshavin (F)
9 Roman Pavluchenko (F)
1 Wayne Hennessey (G)
2 Chris Gunter (D)
5 Craig Morgan (D)
6 Ashley Williams (D)
3 Gareth Bale (D)
7 Simon Davies (M)
4 Carl Fletcher (M)
8 Carl Robinson (M)
10 David Edwards (M)
11 Joe Ledley (M)
9 Sam Vokes (F)
Russia Substitutes
16 Viacheslav Malafeev (G)
5 Vasili Berezutsky (D)
6 Alexei Berezutsky (D)
13 Renat Yanbaev (D)
15 Vladimir Bystrov (M)
12 Ivan Saenko (F)
14 Pavel Pogrebniak (F)
Wales Substitutes
12 Boaz Myhill (G)
13 Steve Evans (D)
16 Samuel Ricketts (D)
15 Brian Stock (M)
14 Ched Evans (F)
17 David Cotterill (F)
18 Robert Earnshaw (F)
Russia Substitutions
Ivan Saenko
for Dmitri Torbinsky (59)
Pavel Pogrebniak
for Sergei Semak (74)
Vladimir Bystrov
for Roman Pavluchenko (90)
Wales Substitutions
Samuel Ricketts
for Carl Robinson (46)
Ched Evans
for Sam Vokes (62)
Steve Evans
for David Edwards (77)
Russia Yellow Cards
Name Min
No Yellow Cards
Wales Yellow Cards
Name Min
Carl Robinson (20)
Ashley Williams (46)
David Edwards (72)
Samuel Ricketts (76)
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