Friday night at the Luzhniki Stadium, Russia walked away with a point against Uruguay, a side ranked fourth in the world, finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup, and are reigning Copa America Champions. Given the sides Russia will face in the group stage, this is a pretty respectable result. The match was pretty even with both sides slitting the possession and shots on goal. Uruguay started on top and scored through Suarez. Russia leveled after less than two minutes with Kerzhakov launching over the oncoming Muslera.
The lineup used in the match was a preview of the team that will be playing in Poland. With no surprise players aside from Marat Izmialov, Advocaat used a 4-5-1 formation. Unlike the previous formations, this one did not break down in the center. The midfield, which was manned by Denisov (DM), Zyrianov (CM), Shirkov (CM), Arshavin (LW), and Izmialov (RW) covered the field very well. Zhirkov and Anyukov occupied the flanks which allowed Arshavin and Izmialov to make deep run-ins into the Uruguayan box. Up front the match showed that Kerzhakov is a stronger candidate for a starting place than Pogrebnyak.
Immediately after the game Dick Advocaat announced his final squad for the tournament. Going along with all previous predictions, he called up Kirill Nabakin to replace Roman Shishkin while Magomed Ozdoev and Artem Dzyuba were dropped. This was clearly a decision made to shore up any defensive shortcomings with only six or seven defenders. With Nabakin in the squad, Russia now have a eight solid defenders to call upon.
Uruguay’s three pronged attack consisting of Cavani, Suarez, and Forlan performed very well making the Russian back line work. It also extended Uruguay’s decent away form stretching from the 2010 World Cup.
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Russia in Euro 2012 Qualifying
POR-RUS: Perfection in Sight
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POR-RUS: Perfection in Sight
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