Last-gasp Berezutski header denies England victory
by Wayne Harrison from Stade Velodrome
Vasili Berezutski struck in added time as Russia, second best for
long periods, rescued a draw from their UEFA EURO 2016 opener against
The Russia captain outjumped Danny Rose inside the penalty area, looping
a header over Joe Hart into the far corner – despite Denis Glushakov's
best efforts to steal the goal on the line. It silenced the masses of
England fans, who were in good voice thanks to Eric Dier's wonderful free-kick
with a little over a quarter of an hour remaining.
It was a case of what might have been for Roy Hodgson's men on a clammy,
close night in Marseille. They dominated for long spells, penning their
opponents back. Spurred on by Wayne Rooney – deployed in central midfield
– and thrusting right-back Kyle Walker, they twice tested Igor Akinfeev
before the break through Adam Lallana.
Russia only had one effort on target in that time, when Sergei Ignashevich
headed straight at Hart from Oleg Shatov's free-kick. Leonid Slutski's
charges carried a greater threat in the second period, although it was
England who seemed to have landed the decisive blow, soon after the busy
Akinfeev had parried a measured Rooney effort against the crossbar.
Berezutski, 33, had other ideas, meeting Igor Smolnikov's ball from the
left to earn Russia an unlikely point. It means England have still never
won their opening game in a EURO finals.
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Slutski hails Russia spirit, England 'bitterly disappointed'
by Simon Hart & Wayne Harrison at Stade Velodrome
Leonid Slutski was delighted with how his Russia players "stuck at
it" against England, whose manager Roy Hodgson said Vasili Berezutski's
late equaliser was "a tough pill to swallow".
Leonid Slutski, Russia coach
My players stuck at it until the end and they rescued a point, which is
tricky to do. England dominated the match, but we were still able to contain
them and their dangerous forwards.
We were playing against a 4-3-3 or even a diamond system, so we were prepared
for those two different tactical alternatives – we were prepared to play
against both systems. We focused on their movement. As for their intensity,
we tried to outdo them. That said, England are one of the quickest teams
on the planet so I don't know if we were able to succeed in what I'd planned.
As for the new players, both [Roman] Neustadter and [Aleksandr] Golovin
showed the level needed in this tournament.
Roy Hodgson, England manager
I have the same emotions as the players. To say we are bitterly disappointed
would be an understatement. We were that close to a deserved victory and
to lose it with one minute of injury time remaining is a tough pill to
swallow, but that happens in football.
When we analyse the game tomorrow there'll be a lot of things we will
want to take forward and hopefully we'll be able to put the memory of
this last-minute goal behind us.
I thought we were good for the first 45 minutes and the last 30 minutes
of the second half. We weren't very good for the first 15 minutes of the
second half and allowed them to play too many long balls forward. For
15 minutes we didn't establish the control we had, but we overcame that
and re-established control.
I know he [Eric Dier] can do it because I see it in training. The free-kick
goal was a corollary of the fact we had so much possession in their half
and they were being forced to commit those fouls.
UEFA.com, 11 June 2016
* * *
England 1-1 Russia
Euro-2016. Group stage - Group B
June 11, 2016
Marseille. Stade Velodrome
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
England: Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling,
Raheem Sterling (James Milner, 87), Adam Lallana, Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney
(c) (Jack Wilshere, 78), Eric Dier, Dele Alli
Coach: Roy Hodgson
Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Igor Smolnikov, Sergei Ignashevich, Roman Neustadter
(Denis Glushakov, 80), Aleksandr Kokorin, Fedor Smolov (Pavel Mamaev,
85), Aleksandr Golovin (Roman Shirokov, 77), Vasili Berezutski (c), Oleg
Shatov, Georgi Schennikov, Artem Dzyuba
Coach: Leonid Slutski
Goals: Dier (73), V. Berezutski (90+2).
Yellow cards: Cahill (62), Schennikov (72)