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Russia cautiously starts 2014 World Cup with 1-1 South Korea tie

June 18, 2014, 5:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The squad will next face Russia’s old-time rivals Belgium, which earlier in the night felt comfortable defeating Algeria 2-1
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MOSCOW, June 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian national football team uncorked their 12-year drought of performing in the World Cup series with a 1-1 draw against the South Korean team late on Tuesday night, which was a disappointment to the Russian fans.

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is held in 12 various locations across the country between June 12 and July 13. The city of Cuiaba, which marks South America’s exact geographic center, was scheduled to hold four matches only, including today’s encounter between Russia and South Korea. The match was thought by locals to be an enchanted one.

However, it was far from enchanting as both teams started the match as if trying to adjust to each other, although they met in November of 2013 in a friendly match. The Russians defeated then the speedy North Koreans 2-1.

Following the scoreless first half of the match it was the South Korean team to finally see its forward Lee Keunho to be the first burning the net of the Russian side. But six minutes later, Russia’s forward Alexander Kerzhakov emerged blazing the return goal to tight the score at 1-1 with 16 minutes remaining before the whistle.

The rest of the match, as well as four additionally granted minutes by the referees, could be remembered by video footage of the Russian head coach’s vivid expressions on his face.

Fabulous manager Fabio Capello, who is usually self-restrained and composed, smiled like a child, sometimes frowned or laughed almost wildly while his team’s much taller players, comparing with the slim South Korean squad, missed numerous chances to head-score in the remaining minutes.

Being rumored to be the highest paid national coach in the world, Italian phenomenon Capello managed to help the Russian national team to qualify for the current World Cup in Brazil and today’s match marked his 68th birthday.

Capello’s squad will next face Russia’s old-time rivals Belgium, which earlier in the night felt comfortable defeating Algeria 2-1 at the Belo Horizonte Stadium. Russia’s game against Algeria is scheduled for June 26.

On the eve of the Russian team’s match against South Korea, the Russian state-run pollster VTsIOM provided data showing that 25% of Russians believed that the country’s national football team would battle through to the final match of the 2014 World Cup. Seven percent said the team would fail to clear the group stage.

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