Monday, October 13, 2008

Germany defeats Russia 2-1

In the key match-up of Group 4, Germany defeated Russia 2-1 in a closely played match. The pace was quick from the start as both clubs were on the hunt for first blood. Russia narrowly missed scoring in the first five minutes as Pavel Pogrebnyak as unable to finish a Yuri Zhirkov's cross from the close range. However it was Die Mannschaft that opened the scoring as Miroslav Klose set-up Bayern Munich teammate Lukas Podolski for the opening goal nine minutes into the match. Twenty-one minutes later Bastian Schweinsteiger charged through the area, sending a cross to Michael Ballack on the far side which he cleanly slotted to the back of the net. With a strong two goal lead the German defense was near perfect through the balance of the half and Russia's attacking flourish was effectively nullified.

After the break, Guus Hiddink called upon CSKA Moscow teen phenom Alan Dzagoev and tactically moved into a 3-5-2 with extraordinary success. The impact was immediate and six minutes after the break Andrei Arshavin was set-up by fellow Zenit Saint Petersburg-man Igor Denisov. Russia had countless chances to draw the match level but 'keeper René Adler kept all attempts at bay and certainly was the man-of-the-match.

Russia returns to action on Wednesday with a critical match against Finland whilst Germany faces Wales.

Igor Akinfeev,Aleksandr Aniukov ,Sergei Ignashevich,Vasili Berezutsky,Renat Yanbaev (Alan Dzagoev 46'),Igor Denisov,Sergei Semak (Dmitri Sychev 84'),Konstatin Zurianov,Yuri Zhirkov,Pavel Pogrebniak,Andrei Arshavin

René Adler,Arne Friedrich,Heiko Westermann,Philip Lahm ,Per Mertesacker,Bastian Schweinsteiger,Michael Ballack,Piotr Trochowski (Torsten Frings 83'),Thomas Hitzlsperger (Simon Rolfes 90'),Lukas Podolski,Miroslav Klose (Mario Gomez 71')