Russia’s remarkable run of keeping a clean sheet in their group stage matches continued as they defeated Colombia by two goals to nil, a result which also saw the South Americans progress.
Colombia knew that even a defeat by six goals might be enough to see them through against a rampant Russia team who scored 25 goals without reply in their opening two games. Consequently they defended close to their own area and looked to break on the counter-attack, without taking many risks.
However, they got off to a poor start, conceding after just four minutes, with Sirilo the scorer. He controlled a fine pass from Vladislav Shayakhmetot, turned and fired a shot which flew between the legs of Juan Lozano.
The second half was much the same as the first with Russia scoring four minutes into the half. Pavel Chistopolov produced some good work down the left, he centred the ball for Robinho, who made no mistake from the edge of the area.
Russia had a few more chances, which Lozano was equal to, but in truth, Colombia did not threaten Gustavo’s goal at all, ensuring that Russia have gone two hours without conceding at this tournament. Their record of three clean sheets in as many group games has only been matched by Spain in 2004 who actually went on to win the tournament.
The 2-0 loss for Colombia also ensured their progression to the Round of 16. They will meet Iran on 11 November, whereas Russia’s opponents on the following day are hitherto unknown.
“We are very happy, of course. We analysed Russia closely and, fortunately, the game went as planned. Coming into the match we imagined ourselves advancing in third place, not in second, but it does not change a lot for us. Iran will be as tough as any other team we might have faced," Arney Fonnegra, Colombia coach.
“Prior to the match I told my players to be prepared to play at 100 per cent because they were going to face a difficult team, and I was right. Colombia defended a lot and attacked very little, but the fact we didn't score more was our own fault not being precise up front," Sergey Skorovich, Russia coach.