DEN 0-2 RUS: Russia Edge Out Denmark
On a chilly evening in Copenhagen, Russia edged out Denmark 2-0 on Wednesday night. Out of all the other friendly matches, this was potentially one of the closest with no clear predictable winner. Denmark had a good run of form having beat Sweden at home in November. Russia came out on top with some solid defending and dominating attacks which left the Danes reeling in questions.
Dick Advocaat set up a full strength squad making only four changes in the second half. The match started with an all out Russian attack. Shirokov quickly found an open space and slotted the ball low past Thomas Sorensen. Russia continued to dominate, showing excellent passing and creativity to outplay the Danish defense. Arshavin and Zhirkov dominated the left flank while Denisov, Shirokov, and Dzagoev controlled the midfield. In goal, Gobulov, who was making his first start since March 2010, covered the goal solidly while the backline contained Nicklas Bendtner and Dennis Rommedahl. Towards the end of the second half, Arshavin burst into his best form, playing a nice one-two with Zhirkov before executing a perfect volley to put the ball into the net. Arshavin’s goal becomes his first since scoring against Azerbaijan in October, 2009.
Players to Note
Since being recalled by Dick Advocaat in August, 2010 for a friendly against Bulgaria, Shirkov has been improving significantly since his subpar performance at Euro 2008. His performance on Wednesday only showed his improvement and goalscoring ability.
After transferring to Zenit on loan, Arshavin had a burst of form in this match with a terrific goal scored just before half time. Is this possibly an indication that he may coming back to his prime? Maybe, who knows?
Gaboulov started the match a bit unexpectedly as Vyacheslav Malafeev has had a great run of form for Zenit. Gaboulov’s start is his first since 2010 and marks his first real involvement in the national team under Dick Advocaat. Guus Hiddink gave Gaboulov an opportunity to prove himself in 2007 and it proved crucial as Russia qualified for Euro 2008.
Denmark 0-2 Russia
Goals: Shirokov 4, Arshavin 44
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