Russia were held to a 1-1 draw by
Uruguay in a lively encounter on Friday in the first of their
three friendlies before the start of Euro 2012.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 48th minute,
taking the ball to the right of the area before easily going by
two defenders and beating Russia goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev
with a low drive from 12 metres.
Second-half substitute Alexander Kerzhakov equalised a
minute later, taking advantage of a defensive miscue as the
Latin Americans appealed for offside.
The Russians controlled the tempo in the first half but
Uruguay, who reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2010, looked
dangerous on counter-attacks, coming close on a couple of
Suarez, undoubtedly the most active player for the visitors,
just missed a far corner with a low shot in the 21st minute
after fooling central defender Sergei Ignashevich in the box.
A few minutes later, the Liverpool forward created another
chance, laying off to Edinson Cavani but the Napoli striker
fired over the bar from a good position.
"We played against a very good team, which is ranked number
three in the world by FIFA," Russia coach Dick Advocaat told a
"Uruguay have four strikers in their team whose average
price is 40 million [euros]. But we played well today and we're
going in the right direction," he said.
"I think we haven't shown our full potential just yet, the
most important thing is to improve for our first Euro 2012 game
against the Czech Republic."
Friday's match was the last test for the Russian players to
impress Advocaat before the Dutchman announced the final 23-man
Euro 2012 squad later in the evening.
Before the game Advocaat said the goalkeeper who played
against Uruguay [Malafeyev] would be his first choice at Euro
2012, but afterwards he was coy about it.
"You want to know the starting keeper and the rest of our
line-up? Well, you'll see it when we take to the pitch against
the Czechs," Advocaat told reporters.
Russia play two more friendlies, against Lithuania and Italy
on May 29 and June 1, before flying to Poland for the Euros.
The tournament starts on June 8 when Russia play the Czech
Republic while co-hosts Poland face 2004 European champions
Greece in the other opening Group A match.
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