Russia awake with rout of Venezuela

European champions Russia finally found their scoring touch, putting four past Venezuela in a simple 4-0 victory. The result from the Fujairah Stadium sees Russia still alive with three points from their three games. It will take a complicated and unlikely series of results for them to move through to the Round of 16 as one of the best third-place finishers, but they are, technically, still alive. Venezuela, on the other hand, head for home after finishing at the bottom of Group D.

Three minutes later, they were 1-0 up. Aleksandr Makarov, alone at the far post, headed home brilliantly from an inch-perfect Dmitriy Barinov cross. The rest of the half was all one-way traffic as the Venezuelans were unable to get much going in attack.

Ayaz Guliev tried a shot from distance in the 21st minute, only to be denied by Beycker Velasquez. With six minutes to go in the half, however, the Russians scored twice. Alexandr Golovin played in Ramil Sheidaev on a quick-thinking play to make the score 2-0, and Golovin made it three in stoppage time to darken Venezuela’s prospects of staying alive in the tournament.

The South Americans, with zero points from their two games, had nothing to lose, and they pushed forward in the second half. Their attempts to claw themselves back into the contest were all in vain though, and they resorted to spiteful fouling. The Russians were the ones who created the better chances when they caught their stretched opponents on the break. In the 85th minute, with Venezuela totally demoralised and resigned to their fate, Russia scored a fourth when Ramil Sheidaev stumbled past his man in the area and fired home from 12 yards out.

Venezuela, who finished the game with ten men after a late red card for Eduardo Maceira, head out of the competition with zero points in a disappointing debut. Russia, for their part, now play the waiting game.