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Football: Russia Beat Portugal
October 13, 2012 13:03

Russia’s first ever victory over Portugal in its new history in the third 2014 World Cup qualifier has been widely lauded by international press but received mixed reviews at home.  

Fabio Capello praised the team’s performance, stubbornness and commitment and said he might even allow the players to invite their wives for dinner. 

Sovetsky Sport, one of Russia’s major sports daily, has pooled pieces of reactions from sports agents to players to experts.

Columnist Yury Tsybanev hailed the Russian players’ ability to stymie Ronaldo’s pace by not giving him enough space to put his best foot forward.  

In contrast, Evgeny Lovchev voiced disappointment with the defensive style of the Russian team which appeared too simplistic to him. The first goal was made possible only due to good understanding between Zenit players (Faizulin intercepts, Shirokov sends an incisive cross, Kerzhakov blasts the ball past the goalkeeper) and Ronaldo’s injury.

The two only positive thing Lovchev points out were total commitment by all the players and the young lineup, with new players like Kokorin, Faizulin, Samedov, Eshenko and Kombarov given plenty of chance to impress Capello.

Sports agent Vladimir Abramov said the goal was partly due to a mistake by the goalkeeper but still thanked Kerzhakov for what turned out to be the decisive moment of the match.

Sovetsky Sport’s Mikhail Borzykin did a very good analysis of the tactics and timely substitutions the national boss used to outdo Portugal.

Another look

Another Russian major sports outlet, Sport-Express was more focused on specific players than overall assessment of the game.  

Dmitry Simonov explores the world of Cristiano Ronaldo’s fans in Russia who have dedicated websites and a page in Vkontakte, a Russian copy of Facebook and looks at Capello’s decisions to keep the striker away from the hosts’ net. 

Vitaly Airapetov was assigned to watch captain Igor Denisov, who hasn’t had enough practice after falling out with Zenit leadership over his pay terms. 

His verdict was positive – despite slightly lower foot speed and a couple of mistakes, the young midfielder proved he is still in good shape to remain the side’s captain. 

Very good analysis on Russia vs Portugal also to be found here

Below are the highlights of the match. 

More video here.

On Tuesday Russia take on Azerbaijan in Moscow, so if you want to travel to Moscow and enjoy the game, feel free to contact Russia-IC to help you with accomodation and tickets.

Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: Russian football Portugal Sovetsky Sport Sport-Express  

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