RIO DE JANEIRO, June 27. /ITAR-TASS/. The conclusion of the participation of Russia's and Portugal's footballers in the group stage of the World Cup Finals (WCF) and the disqualification of Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez for four months and nine matches for the national team became the most remembered events on the 15th day of the current WCF in Brazil.
The concluding matches of the WCF group stage began at 12am Moscow time. The Algeria vs. Russia and South Korea vs. Belgium matches were to decide the future of the second bid in the group for the Round of 16. The first bid was won by Belgian footballers earlier. The Belgians also outperfomed Algeria 2-1.
In the match with South Korea, Belgium won a minimum victory 1-0. At the end of the first half of the match, they were undermanned after a misconduct penalty was imposed on Steven Defour. Notwithstanding that, the team did not cede and even managed to score through the efforts of Jan Vertonghen in the 77th minute.
So, the Russian team could focus only on their match were things looked quite good at first. Already in the 6th minute the Russian squad went to the fore. The score was opened by Alexander Kokorin, who sent a header following a pass from Dmitry Kombarov. Subsequently, events on the field began to develop less swiftly. It is possible to say that the Russian side in an Italian style was busy shutting out the game. The score did not change until the breather.
After the break, the game proceeded in the same spirit, with the Russians giving too much room to the opponents. The latter were quick in making use of that and squeezed the Russian players near the line of the penalty area. The outcome of all that was that fullback Alexei Kozlov in an innocuous situation "earned" a penalty on the flank of defense. After the penalty kick, the score evened. Russia's goal-keeper Igor Akinfeyev, while seeking to intercept a pass, was not quick enough to catch the ball because he either overrated his strength or was blinded by a laser pointer from a grandstand. Islam Slimani slammed the ball into an empty goal cage 1-1 by the 60th minute.
As the game proceeded, the Russian players were unable even to bring about if only one really acute situation near the goal cage of the Algerian team. The outcome of that was that the African team boisterously celebrated their success,. for the first time ever qualifying for a playoff in the WCF while Russia wound up participation in the games.
Final standings in Group H were as follows:
1. Belgium (9 points, goal average 4-1);
2. Algeria (4, 6-4);
3. Russia (2, 2-3) ;
4. South Korea (1, 3-6).
In Group G, Germany and the USA qualified for playoff. The German team defeated the US 1-0. Thomas Muller scored in the 55th minute. Portuguese team outperformed Ghana 2-1 and together with the African team dropped out of the tournament.
Final standings in Group G were as follows:
1. Germany (7 points, goal average 7-2);
2. USA (4,4-4);
3. Portugal (4, 4-7);
4. Ghana (1,4-6).
In the Round of 16, Germany will meet with Algeria and the Americans will play against the Belgians. All pairs in the Round of 16 are as follows: Brazil vs. Chile, Netherlands vs. Mexico, Colombia vs. Uruguay, Costa Rica vs. Greece, France vs. Nigeria, Argentina vs. Switzerland, Germany vs. Algeria, and Belgium vs.USA.
Apart from the conclusion of the group phase of the tournament, there wad yet another significant event. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee ruled on the case of Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez who bit Italian fullback Giorgio Chiellini during the match between the two teams on Tuesday, June 24.
The punishment proved tough enough. Luis Suarez has been debarred from any activity connected with footballl for four months, and was also disqualified for nine matches of the Uruguayan national team.
So, Suarez will be outside the games until November at least, and will miss the rest of the World Cup Finals and apparently the 2015 America Cup tournament. During the disqualification period he will not be able even to watch matches from stadium grandstands.