Russia 2 -1 England, 17 Oct 2007, Euro 2008 Qualifier, Live Blog

England played a ‘must not lose’ game in Russia. On an artificial pitch McLaren’s squad went out amid 77000 Russian fans and scored the first goal after less than 30 minutes.
After a wrongly accorded penalty, Pavlyuchenko turned the score and qualification chances: within only 4 minutes Russia went from elimination to pole position for the Euro 2008 qualification.

We covered the game live.
Click to read our complete live report after the jump.

England lost this game in the midfield, if Barry and Gerrard were heroes over the last 3 games, today they were the most anonymous players on the pitch. They have forgotten to fight for the ball, there was no bite in the English midfield and the Russians created chances over the midfield.
The first 60 minutes were in the advantage of England, but in only 4 mintes Pavlyuchenko turned the game and Russia now has everything in own hand to qualify for Euro 2008. McLaren and England depend on Russia dropping points: Russia only needs 4 points out of two games to qualify now.

England had 2 great chances to score the second goal: Gerrard and Richards, but instead of 0-2, Pavlyuchenko turned the score in to 2-1, with 2 goals in less than 5 minutes, the first one scoring from the penalty spot after a foul from Rooney outside of the box.

FT. 2-1

90′ + 3′ Last throw in for Russia. Ball out now for England, but the Lions can’t create any danger anymore and Hiddink becomes the hero. Rooney the anti-hero. Again.

90′ + 2′ Pavlyuchenko starting in his own half, one on one with Ferdinand but he doesn’t really put the pace on, not enough to penetrate in the box and Ferdinand clears.

90′ + 1′ Zhirkov allowed to run down the line before anyone intervenes and Robinson clears

90′ England throwing everything forward now, Hiddink tactically replacing Arshavin and bringing on one more defender.
3 minutes added, will it be enough?

88′ Throw in for Gerrard but Russia clears before Richards. Corner

I’m going to repeat what I said on Saturday about Lamps: he has to run, chase the ball, claim it and tackle! And no word about Gerrard, he didn’t do anything either today.

86′ Free kick for Russia from 30 yards but wide.

85′ Quick outbreak over Lamps. Lampard quickly to Rooney in the box, but his shot is saved by Gabulov. Nothing comes out of the resulting corner though.

England now besieged in their own box and things look bad. Really bad for England now.

84′ Pavlyuchenko wins another corner.

83′ Ferdinand who wanted to clear, almost scored an own goal but the ball went in corner again.

82′ Richards gives away a corner.

81′ England playing 2-5-3 now

Quickly taken, but without any danger and after a blocked Rooney shot, the ball comes to Gerrard who’s looking for Crouch, but the robot is offside.

79′ Rooney wins a corner. Something for Lamps or Crouch?

78′ Triple substition for England: Lampard comes in for Lescott, Downing for Joe Cole and Crouch for SWP.

75′ This could be the chance for lamps, now he would be the perfect replacement for Gerrard, but right at the moment it are the Russians who are pushing AGAIN/still, with an Arshavin shot from within the box on the right… straight on Ferdinand’s head.

McLaren – Bolton? Anyone?

74′ Pavlyuchenko booked for kicking the ball away. And Hiddink just has won everything in 5 minutes… and McLaren has lost it. His job too if it stays like this.

72′ Nobody can properly clear and after a save from Robinson on Berezutsky, Pavlyuchenko can touch the ball in, being faster on the ball than Lescott and Campbell. 2-1.

71′ Arshavin goes around Richards, can center finds Russian feet, but English bodies in the way.

69′1 – 1. Pavlyuchenko.

67′ Penalty for Russia after a Rooney foul, OUTSIDE of the box!

Today’s poor performance from Gerrard shows s who we REALLY need in our squad and it’s not Lamps, but it’s Owen Hargreaves!

65′ The Russian’s now really are pushing, and our defense is tested, but except Campbell’s last minute save no one has managed it to really penetrate our defense.

63′ One-two between Asharin and Kerzakhow. Again it is Campbell who saves, preventing Asharin from pulling of from within the 8 yards.

61′ Berezutsky going deep in the box at the left ad manages it to center, a low center but Campbell just cleared before Asharin

59′ And as I wrote this, 4 Russian players all tried to shoot from outside of the box, but every time there was an English foot preventing them from testing Robinson. We bless the English defense for taking care of our Robinson doubts

It is surprising to see that Russia really gets no grip on the second half and I think England even has a possession advantage at this moment.

57′ Rio is booked for a professional obstruction foul in Russia’s half on Zhirkov and hence misses the qualifier against Croatia. If we win today’s game, of course his suspension is a blessing, if not…

55′ Micah Richard now on the other side, just not able to put his foot against the the ball. On a cross from Barry and Gabulov can push the ball away. This could have been 2-0 if the young Citeh boy managed it to touch the ball.

53′ Last minute tackle from Richards inside the box, just before Zhirkov can touch the ball.

52′ England now playing 4-4-1-1, Russia playing 3-4-Arshavin.

50′ Perfect free kick from Barry to the far post where Gerrard runs in, but the Liverpool player does the impossible and manages it to push the ball wide from only 6 yards.

49′ Richards wins a free kick on the right.

Owen center to Rooney, but he doesn’t get his head properly against and Gabulov eaily catches the ball

47′ Owen center to Rooney, but he doesn’t get his head properly against and Gabulov easily catches the ball

46′ KO 2nd half

What can we expect in the second half?
Hiddink is going to throw everyone in the offense and Owen and Rooney will be our lethal weapons, together with Joe Cole’s pace.
I don’t see Lampard participating today, because we don’t really need him and in a game where Russia can only lose, we don’t need another one who thinks offensively, but we need tacklers. Gerrard surely will be told to tackle earlier and Barry will continue his rather anonymous game in front of Rio and Sol.
Maybe one or two England outbreaks, but I expect Russia to push the English team now against their own goal.

HT. England, and McLaren, are enjoying a great moment: 1-0 and the Lions are qualified for Euro 2008 right at the moment.
The English 11 did exactly what McLaren wanted, and Ahmed feared: not concede a goal in the first twenty minutes and an amazing control and volley from Wayne Rooney did the rest.
England will have to work more in the midfield though, the Russian are having a rather dangerous possession advantage and the likes of Barry and Gerrard are NOT tackling enough nor soon enough in the midfield. Arshavin is playing a great game for Russia and seems to be dangerous anytime, but who else than Rio Ferdinand would be the fun disturber for Russia.
Robinson had a great save, pushing Arshavin’s shot against the post and then in corner, otherwise the English defense did what needed: throw their body there where the ball went… if Rio Ferdinand wasn’t already there.
The second half could become an interesting one, Russia have to score twice to keep qualification chances open.

45′ 1 minute added

43′ England corner and the usual suspects all move forward: Ferdinand, Campbell, but Joe Cole can’t really control Gerrard’s corner and the ball rolls out. Goal kick for Russia.

42′ Gabulov has to come out to punch a high center from SWP away before the ball reaches Owen and jumps over/on Rooney to do so. Free kick for England, but without any danger.

39′ Another corner for Russia, but Barry finally clears the ball out of the box

Russia is the more dominant team, benefiting the home advantage obviously, but England is organized very solidly. For anyone having seen the game several weeks ago: today’s game reminds me of the Sporting Lisbon – ManUtd Champions League game some weeks ago. The home team being the more dominant one, but at the same time the less dangerous team.

Cole is the most active English player right at the moment, running and chasing/claiming the ball both at the left and the right.

33′ Arshavin wins another corner in similar fashion: penetrating deep. Except this time it was Lescott who pushed the ball in corner with his sliding.

The corner curves around everyone and is out already before any Russian touches the ball.

31′ First Russian outbreak after the goal and they win a corner, after a Joe Cole sliding.

28′ 1 – 0!!! Rooney has another of those brilliant volleys!
A great flick from Owen to the middle of the field and Rooney controls the ball with the chest, penetrating in the box, and then unleashes with his right foot takes the volley.
No chance for the keeper. 1-0 for England.
Watch Rooney’s goal here and here

27′ Lescott keeping Zurianov of the ball at the corner flag and wins a free kick.

26′ Zurianov moving towards the English box, running almost 15 yards unchallenged with the ball before he unleashes his shot, low to towards the right post and Robinson can just deflect the shot on the post.

25′ Robinson moving out more than 30 yards with the ball at the feet allowing England to move deeper in the Russian half, but the Eastern Europeans are really well organised at the back.

24′ The England midfield, especially Gerrard and Barry didn’t get their grip on the fast moving and passing Russians yet. Hopefully we’ll see more white shirts in action in the middle half of the pitch.

20′ Russian pushing, the ball comes to Arshavin, who’s low shot from outside of the box is blocked by Rio and the outbreak over Rooney is absorbed easily by a well positioned Russian defense.

18′ Barry to SWP, but the Chelsea player can’t find anyone in the center.

17′ Long deep ball on Kershakow, but a little to sharp and Robinson intervenes before any danger can follow.

15′ We are seeing a hard game, quick passing play from both side and the synthetic pitch is perfect for many tackles and slidings. We already saw some of those and the slightly wet pitch will invite everyone to tackle even more.

No danger from the corner, and England wins another corner.

13′ Berezetski roughly tackles Joe Cole who was moving forward and gets booked for his late tackle on Cole.
The fast free kick goes to Rooney, but he doesn’t get behind properly and obtains a corner

11′ Kershakow goes down in the box after a clean Joe Cole challenge but the referree stays stoic and doesn’t react.

Russia clearly is the faster team right at the moment

9′ Arshavin going on Ferdinand, looking for someone on the right, but his pass doesn’t find anyone and Campbell recovers

Very fast combination play from Russia through the midfield, but a poor shot and blocked by Campbell

7′ Luckily Russia’s explosive start only lasted some minutes and the next minutes have been a tactical midfield discovery and search for space from both squads.

2′ The first minutes totally belong to Russia, an only a foul on Owen, in England’s half gives the white shirts a short break and the occasion to breathe.

1′ Owen and Rooney kick off the game for England.

Steve McLaren has opted for a starting team without Frank Lampard. Lescott replaces the injured Ashley Cole. In the central defense Rio and Sol Campbell are playing together again. An experienced duo, having played more than 40 times together in the England shirt already.

The squads:
Russia: Gabulov, Alexei Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Vasili Berezutsky, Zhirkov, Bilyaletdinov, Semshov, Zurianov, Aniukov, Arshavin, Kerzhakov. Subs: Malafeev, Torbinsky, Pogrebniak, Shirokov, Kolodin, Sychev, Pavluchenko.

England: Robinson, Richards, Lescott, Ferdinand, Campbell, Wright-Phillips, Gerrard, Barry, J Cole, Rooney, Owen. Subs: James, Shorey, L Young, Lampard, P Neville, Downing, Crouch.

This page will be auto refreshing every 15 seconds from now until after the final whistle.

Match Details

Russia vs England
Wednesday 17 October 2007
Moscow, Russia
Euro 2008 Qualifier
Kickoff – 16:00 (UK time)

Russia vs England Preview

England dispatched Estonia with relative ease, as expected, but the wave of euphoria following that win is as misguided as the wave we saw at the very start of McClaren’s reign. At this point, Russia away will be England’s toughest test, as tough as Croatia away, perhaps, and that day, despite the formation the players looked fit enough to grab a draw at best, not more.

Wednesday sees a new-look England (oh yes, retrofitted even), with no Neville, no Ashley Cole, no Frank Lampard, no David Beckham. In their places are players you could call England’s future: Richards, Lescott, Barry and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Rooney and Owen will resume their striking duties up top, with Crouch once again relegated to the bench.

The astroturf and the weather will make it tough for England, but it’s more psychological than anything else. Luckily, mental fortitude is something that England have in abundance…errr, right. The FA have gone ahead and doubled their insurance for English players for the Russia game, a rare pragmatic move from them.

Lampard, for all the booing, is not match-fit, but apart from that you can expect Terry, Owen, Gerrard and co to line up for England as usual for their most important game of their Euro 2008 qualification.

England will find it much harder in Moscow than they did at Wembley, and that’s only because at Wembley, the Russian defenders didn’t mark Owen that well and thus whenever the high balls got knocked down to him, he had ample space to control and shoot. Hiddink is a smart coach so you’d expect him to have his players stick to Owen like super-glue.

Expected England Lineup:

Richards, Rio, Terry, Lescott
SWP, Barry, Gerrard, J Cole
Rooney, Owen

Apart from the usual gripes (Robinson is error-prone, Joe Cole can’t go wide and can’t cross so the tight Russian defence will eat him up unless he pulls a blinder or two), this is a good team. Rooney and Owen can easily play together if they have support from midfield, and right now they have two captains playing in midfield who are both focal points for their respective teams and know how to adapt to different situations.

Predictions? I’m going for an England win, but handbags and the odd Russian goal (Richards and Cole did exceptionally well at Wembley to prevent Russia from threatening too much) are also in the offing.

Also Read: England October 07 Euro 2008 Qualifiers Preview.

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