World Cup Last 16: Russia 1-2 Italy

Italy survived a late barrage from the hosts as they won 2-1 in Russia to book their place in the quarter-finals against South Korea. he hosts finished the game with ten men after getting back in the game and were denied an equaliser right at the death.

Italy were unchanged from their win over Saudi Arabia, while Russia made four changes from their draw with Tunisia: Georgy Schennikov, Zelao, Evgeny Balyaikin, and Konstantin Rausch all came into their starting XI replacing Ali Gadjibekov, Evgeny Makeev, Alan Dzagoev,and Alexandr Kokorin.

Italy took the lead in the 14th minute as Giovinco, Marchiso and Forestieri all linked-up on the Italian right before a through-ball was played into the path of Alessandro Florenzi who beat two men on a run into the box before he drilled low and hard past Igor Akinfeev.

The hosts grew into the game, but were unable to breach the Italian defence and they were dealt a blow just three minutes before the break. Giovinvo dummied playing a low ball from Domenico Criscito into the box, leaving the ball to run free for Alessandro Florenzi who knocked it out of his feet before smashing into the top corner.

Russia were forced into two changes before the break, and made a third during the interval as Makeev came on. Midway through the second-half Serges Deble caught Criscito napping and he surged down the Russian right before whipping a ball right to the far post where Evgeny Makeev volleyed home to make it 2-1.

A dramatic final five minutes ended the match in Volgograd as Evgeny Balyaikin was shown a second yellow card when he caught Claudio Marchisio late while already on a booking. Three minutes went up on the board and with the clock on 92:56, Salvatore Sirigu had to make a match-winning save when he held Sergey Parshivlyuk’s header.

                        ITALY 2-1 RUSSIA
              Florenzi 14, 42     Makeev 69
                                  Balyaikin s/o 88

                    Marchisio     Deble
                     Nocerino     Balyaikin

World Cup: England Lose Man, Win Match

Group D: The Slovenian referee had a busy evening in Samara with nine yellows and one red issued as England beat Honduras to be the first side with three wins from three, while Russia scored the 100th goal of the tournament in their draw with Tunisia to see them safely into the second round. England will face Ghana on Sunday, and Russia will meet Italy.

Two enforced changes for England, as James Milner and Theo Walcott replaces Jack Wilshere and Wayne Rooney, both of whom were suspended from the win over Tunisia. Just the one change for Honduras with midfielder Mario Martínez in place of Luis Ramos who was sent-off against Russia.

England got off to a flyer in the first-ever meeting between the two sides as Chris Smalling headed home from Milner’s corner for his third goal for his country. A minute later Milner was the first player in the referee’s book with a crunching challenge on Johnny Palacios after he went in strong on Phil Jones.

The Three Lions pushed for a second but the Honduran defence held strong. The game was in danger of spilling over as the Central American side were flying into challenges as the win they needed to qualify started to look more an more unlikely. By half-time, referee Damir Skomir had given out five yellow cards, and two more quickly followed after the break.

With over half-hour to play Phil Jones, cautioned on the stroke of half-time, came through the back of Lozano and Skomir showed the sixth red card of the tournament.

England shut-up shop to preserve their 100% record, Honduras huffed and puffed but offered little going forwards. The win sets up a last sixteen match for England against Ghana which will be played in Moscow on Sunday.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP D (3)
                      ENGLAND 1-0 HONDURAS
                  Smalling 11
               Jones s/off 59

                       Milner     Palacios
                        Jones     Espinoza
                  Huddlestone     Chávez

The hosts made two changes from last time out: in came Evgeny Makeev and Alexandr Kokorin for Georgy Schennikov and Konstantin Rausch. Goal difference was on their side, but couldn’t afford a slip-up against Tunisia who made just one change: Wahbi Khazri replacing Rebaï Chellouf®.

An opening half hour passed-by without much to trouble the commentators or excite the crowd, but with England already one-up in their match, Welliton scored his third of the tournament, and the 100th here in Russia this month when he drilled the hosts in front from 15 yards.

Tunisia threatened to spoil the party when they levelled midway through the second-half through Hamza Younes. Bedoui stayed onside to cross from the right towards Younes, but Zelao headed away. Chehoudi was first to react and he hit the loose ball back across the six-yard box where Younes had stayed for a perfect poacher’s finish.

That’s how it finished in Volgograd and Russia will now meet Euro 2016 champions Italy in the second round. They met in August last year in a 1-1 friendly draw, while Italy knocked Russia out of Euro 2016 two years ago with a 3-0 win in the last sixteen.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP D (3)
                       RUSSIA 1-1 TUNISIA
                  Welliton 27     Younes 68
                       Makeev     Chermiti

World Cup, Group D: Matchday Two Review

England are on the verge of a place in the last sixteen after coming from behind to beat Tunisia at the Anji Arena, with hosts Russia knowing a win next week should suffice to also progress after Honduras crumbled after taking the lead against them before going down to ten men.

After defeat in their opening game by England, Russia made three changes for their match against Tunisia in Moscow: Schennikov for Makeev in defence, Kontsedalov instead of the injured Glushakov in midfield, and Rausch up to replacing Kokorin.

Honduras meanwhile made two changes from the side that beat Tunisia last week: Romel Fuentes took David Diego’s spot in goal, and Luis Ramos came in to the back four for the injured Milton Gutíerrez.

A win for Honduras against the hosts would have seen them seal a spot in the Second Round, and they got off to a perfect start in the 7th minute when Anthony Lozano slammed home a low cross from Andy Najar after he chased a long-ball over the top. In control, it all went from on the 20 minute mark.

Ramos and Konstantin Rausch tangled 30 yards from the Honduran goal as the two players both went in with a strong block tackle, but as the ball ran free in Rausch’s favour, Luis Ramos dived in with a two-footed scissor challenge and was shown a straight red by the French referee.

That ended Honduras’s control of midfield, and after the game threatened to boil over with Dzagoev and García being booked, Russia found a deserved equaliser six minutes before the break through Pavel Mamaev when he controlled Parshivlyuk’s cross brilliantly before toe-poking past Fuentes.

Two more goals came midway through the second-half when Welliton turned home Kombarov’s low ball into the box, before Makeev pulled the ball back from the right to Dmitry Kombarov on the edge of the box who drilled a shot into the bottom corner.

Russia’s destiny isn’t in their own hands for their final group game against Tunisia, but should they avoid defeat and Honduras don’t beat England then they’ll progress.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP D (2)
                       RUSSIA 3-1 HONDURAS
                    Mamaev 39     Lozano 8
                  Welliton 65     Ramos s/o 20
                  Kombarov 72
                      Dzagoev     García

England had to come from behind in Makhachkala tonight to beat a stubborn Tunisia side and take a big step to the last sixteen, though will be without Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere for their final group game after both players picked up their second bookings of the tournament.

Two changes for England, with Ryan Shawcross coming in for Marc Linighan® which pushed Phil Jones into midfield, and Wilfried Zaha taking the place of Theo Walcott up front alongside captain Rooney. Tunisia made a pair of changes from the side who lost to Honduras: Zouhaeir Dhaouadi and Rebaï Wassim Chellouf® came in to the staring XI in place of Wahbi Khazri and Chaker Zouaghi.

Youssef Msakni stunned England inside ten minutes when he drove towards the England box, slipped the ball past the challenge of Phil Jones then slid a shot off the wet turf past the diving Joe Hart for his tenth international goal on his 60th cap.

The lead only lasted three minutes until Leighton Baines whipped in a free-kick from the right-hand side of the box after Abdennor’s foul on Rooney which looked suspiciously inside the area. Baines delivered to the far post where Stoke centre-back Ryan Shawcross powered home a header for the equaliser.

Rooney was booked on 27 minutes when he came through the back of Ben Messaoud, and after being cautioned in the win over Russia, he’ll miss the final group game against Honduras on Wednesday.

England took the lead on the half-hour when Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross towards Zaha was only cleared as far as Jones by Benalouane. Jones nodded the ball back into the box to Wilfried Zaha twelve yards out who swivelled and slotted home for 2-1.

The Three Lions dominated after the break and when Wayne Rooney converted Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ball in towards the six-yard box, the game was won.

There was to be one sour note right at the end of the game when Jack Wilshere was shown a yellow card in the final minute after a tangle with Khaled Korbi, when replays show the Tunisia man – already booked himself – went down under no contact whatsoever. Unfortunately, with no look at VAR, the booking rules Wilshere out of the Honduras clash.

As long as England avoid a three-goal defeat on Wednesday, they’ll meet a team from Group C in the Second Round. Tunisia will meet Russia hoping for results to go their way in order to sneak in to the top two.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP D (2)
                      TUNISIA 1-3 ENGLAND
                    Msakni 10     Shawcross 13
                                  Zaha 31
                                  Rooney 73
                        Korbi     Rooney

World Cup, Day Three: England 2-1 Russia (D)

England got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start against the host nation in Novograd this afternoon, beating Russia 2-1 with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the heart of both goals, the first of which came with the first shot of the game.

The game was less than four minutes old when Oxlade-Chamberlain received the ball 30 yards out before taking the ball to the goal-line on the right-hand side of the box. His low cross in to the near post was met by captain Wayne Rooney who slotted England ahead.

Russia pressed for an immediate response and came close when Serges Deble’s shot from the edge of the box deflected off Chris Smalling and bounced on top of the crossbar.

Midway through the half, Jack Wilshere muscled his way past the home defence but lifted his shot over Igor Akinfeev’s bar when he was one-on-one with the veteran ‘keeper.

England lost both Marc Linighan® and Theo Walcott to injury in the last ten minutes of the half. Linighan was caught late on his ankle by Deble, who was booked, and his World Cup looked over as he was stretchered off. Walcott landed awkwardly after a fair aerial battle, and replaced.

Wilfried Zaha was introduced and seven minutes after half-time, he shanked a shot wide after his neat footwork took him clean through, but Akinfeev narrowed the angle and the chance went begging.

Within two minutes England had a crucial second. Oxlade-Chamberlain was involved again, causing problems down the right. His delivery flashed across the face of goal for substitute James Milner to slot home at the far post.

Russia struck back in the 63rd minute when Welliton got on the end of a deep Kombarov free-kick from out wide. England stepped-up for the offside, all except Phil Jones who missed a clearing header and the Spartak striker had a simple finish beyond a wrong-footed Joe Hart.

The two sides cancelled each other out for the remaining half-hour and England collected the three points. They play Tunisia on Saturday, with Russia meeting Honduras.

                    FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP D
                      ENGLAND 2-1 RUSSIA
                     Rooney 4     Welliton 63
                    Milner 54

                       Rooney     Deble
                     Wilshere     Gadjibekov