National Team Games in 1996

See also 1994 and 1995 games reports.

Malta - Russia [0:2]

La Valetta, February 7, 1996, friendly (Rothmans Cup)


Malta - Russia 0:2 (0:1)

[Karpin 25, Kiriyakov 63]
Att: 2000
Malta :   Cini, Vella, Buhagiar, Woods, Debono, 
          Buttigieg, Agius (Souda 88), Saliba, Sultana,
          Brincat, Cetkoutti (Carabott 80)
Russia  : Cherchesov, Mamedov, Nikiforov, Shalimov,
          Kovtun, Karpin, Onopko, Tikhonov (Beschastnykh 46),
          Mostovoy, Yuran, Kiriyakov

Saliba, Brincat

European Championship finalists Russia beat hosts Malta 2-0 in the four-nation tournament in Valletta. A mistake by Maltese goalkeeper Reggie Cini allowed Valery Karpin, one of the best players on show, to open the scoring in the 25th minute. Russia added a second in the 63rd minute through Sergei Kiriakov.

Previous games results

Russia - Iceland [3:0]

La Valetta, February 9, 1996, friendly (Rothmans Cup)


Russia - Iceland 3:0 (1:0)

[Kanchelskis 10, Karpin 64, 67]
Att: 3000
Russia  : Kharin, Radimov, Nikiforov (Chugaynov 75),
          Tetradze, Kovtun (Kanchelskis 8), Karpin, Onopko 
          (Bushmanov 46), Beschastnykh, Mostovoy (Simutenkov 46),
          Dobrovolsky (Alenichev 75), Radchenko
Iceland : Kristinsson, Gulfasson, Sig.Jonsson,
          K.Jonsson, Adolfsson, Gretarsson (Snorransson 75),
          Gunnlaugsson (Gudjonsson 70), Gislasson, Gudjohnsen,
          Tordarson (Kolvidsson 70), Sverrisson

Mostovoy, Gudjohnsen, Sverrisson, Beschastnykh

Valery Karpin scored twice inside three minutes midway through the second half as European championship finalists Russia made hard work of beating Iceland 3-0 in a four-nation tournament on Friday. Karpin, who plays for Spanish club Real Sociedad, struck in the 63rd minute with a low drive and again in the 66th minute following a goalmouth melee. The Russians' only reward for their first half domination was an early goal by Andrei Kanchelskis. A corner from the left was punched straight to the Everton winger who hammered the ball into the net. Iceland, routed 7-1 by Slovenia in their opening match, rarely troubled the Russian defense.

Previous games results

Slovenia - Russia [1:3]

La Valetta, February 11, 1996, friendly (Rothmans Cup)


Slovenia - Russia 1:3 (0:2)

[Glicha 89 hand pen. - Simutenkov 13, 73, Alenichev 18]
Att: 4000
Slovenia :Boskovic, Milanic (Galic 46), Englaro,
          Ziefer, Binkovski, Czekh (Kokol 46), Novak, Zidan,
          Geizer, Siliak (Valentincic 63), Glicha
Russia  : Cherchesov (Kharin 46), Radimov (Mamedov 70),
          Nikiforov, Tetradze, Bushmanov (Chugaynov 78),
          Kanchelskis, Alenichev, Beschastnykh (Tikhonov 78),
          Kechinov, Simutenkov, Radchenko

Siliak, Zidan, Alenichev

Dmitry Radchenko inspired European Championship finalists Russia to a 3-1 win over Slovenia and victory in the Malta four-nation tournament. Radchenko, a constant threat to the Slovenian defence as he switched positions, supplied the crosses which brought goals in the opening 18 minutes for Igor Simoutenkov and Andrei Alenichev.

Previous games results

Ireland - Russia [0:2]

Dublin, March 27, 1996, friendly


Ireland - Russia 0:2 (0:1)

[Mostovoj 35', Kolyvanov 54']
Didn't score from the penalty kick: Staunton, 70' (goalkeeper saved)
att.: 41600. Referee: Hugo Luyten (Netherlands)
Ireland  : Given, McAteer, Kernaghan, McGrath, Staunton,
         Phelan, Keane, Townsend (cap.) (Kenna 46), Kennedy,
         Aldridge (Cascarino, 63), Quinn (Coyne, 85)
Russia : Cherchesov, Kovtun, Nikiforov, Onopko (cap.),
         Kanchelskis, Karpin, Radimov (Radchenko, 46), 
         Mostovoi, Tsymbalar (Tetradze, 46), Kolyvanov,
         Kiryakov (Simutenkov, 66)

Keane, 90

Mostovoi put Russia ahead in the 35th minute when he received the ball outside the penalty area and lobbed a shot past the right hand of goalkeeper. In the 54th minute Kolyvanov was left with time and space on the edge of the penalty area to curl a fine shot low into the bottom corner of the net. Ireland should have pulled a goal back in the 70th minute when the referee awarded a penalty against Onopko for hand-ball. But Steve Staunton had his penalty kick saved by the feet of Stanislav Cherchesov. Quinn headed the resultant corner into the net but his effort was disallowed when the referee ruled he had fouled Cherchesov in rising to meet the ball. Russia nearly added a third goal in the 84th minute when Valeri Karpin was put through by Dmitry Radchenko but his side-footed shot was saved by goalkeeper.

Previous games results

Belgium - Russia [0:0]

Brussels, April 24, 1996, friendly


Belgium - Russia 0:0

att.: . Referee: 
Belgium  : 
Russia : Cherchesov (Kharin), Radimov (Radchenko),
         Nikiforov, Bestchastnykh, Kovtun, Onopko,
         Karpin, Kanchelskis, Kolyvanov, Mostovoy,
         Kiryakov (Simutenkov)

A VERY boring game...

Previous games results

Qatar - Russia [2:5]

Doha, May 25, 1996, friendly


Qatar - Russia 2:5 (0:3)

[M.Mustafa 53 pen., Hassan 89 - Kir'yakov 2, 59, Kanchelskis 5,
Kolyvanov 27, Mostovoy 78]
att.: 2500 . Referee:??? Temperature: 36 Celsius
Qatar  : Halil, Jafel, A.Al-Kuwari, Z.Al-Kuwari, 
         Al-Timini, Al-Obedli, S.Al-Mulla, Hamez 
         (A.Al-Mulla 70), M.Mustafa, Nasmi, Hassan 
Russia : Kharin (Ovchinnikov 85), Gorlukovich, 
         Nikiforov, Tsymbalar' (Dobrovolsky 46), 
         Tetradze, Karpin (Shalimov 59), Onopko 
         (Bushmanov 69), Kanchelskis, Kolyvanov 
         (Yuran 46), Mostovoy, Kir'yakov

Al-Obedli, M.Mustafa, Z.Al-Kuwari
Nikiforov 88 (last hope foul)

The game virtually was decided in first 5 minutes by the two fast goals by Russia. Playing in extreme (for Russians) heat conditions against quite rude Qatari side, Russians cared mainly about their fitness and not the game outcome. The defence looked passive, Gorlukovich, Nikiforov and Tetradze performed well below expected. The midfield and attack looked much better, although Qatari defence didn't produce much obstacles for Karpin, Kanchel'skis, Mostovoj, Kir'jakov, Kolyvanov and substitutes Dobrovolsky and Shalimov. First goal came after Kiriyakov's shot from outside the penalty area. Second goal Kanchelskis scored being one-to-one with goalkeeper. Third goal was a header by Kolyvanov from a close distance. Qatar reduced the score from the penalty spot, but in few minutes Kiriyakov tapped the ball in after the mess at the Qatari goal. Mostovoy scored from outside the box after a nice combination by Kanchelskis, Dobrovolsky and Yuran. The last goal Qatar scored from a free-kick almost 40 meters away from the goal. Ovchinnikov, who came to replace Kharin five minutes ago, was totaly unprepared.

Previous games results

Russia - United Arab Emirates [1:0]

Moscow, May 29, 1996, friendly


Russia - UAE 1:0 (0:0)

[Simutenkov 84]
att.: ??? . Referee:??? 
Russia : Cherchesov, Tetradze, Yanovsky, Onopko,
         Kovtun, Radimov, Tsymbalar' (Simutenkov 69),
         Karpin, Kanchelskis (Dobrovolsky 46), Kir'yakov, 

Another VERY boring game against a rude team.

Previous games results

Russia - Poland [2:0]

Moscow, June 2, 1996, friendly


Russia - Poland 2:0 (1:0)

[Kovtun 21', Beschastnykh 72']
att.: ??? . Referee:??? 
Russia :  Kharin, Onopko (Nikiforov 46), Kovtun, 
          Yanovsky, Tetradze, Tsymbalar' (Dobrovolsky 55),
          Radimov (Shalimov 87), Karpin, Kanchelskis,
          Kolyvanov (Beschastnykh 46), Kiryakov (Simutenkov 46)
Poland :  Szczesny, Jozwiak, Zielinski, Ratajczyk,
          Gesior, Michalski, Pisz, Iwan (Bukalski 46),
          Kowalczyk (Saganowski 39), Lewandowski, Juskowiak
          (Jaskulski 46)

Russia dominated during all the game, although they didn't have much scoring possibilities. Russian offensive players were not really active, and the first goal was scored by the defender Kovtun: it was a header after a perfect corner from the right performed by Tsymbalar'. Tsymbalar' was one of the best players on the field, working hardly on Russia's left flank. Another impressive performance was shown by young Radimov, who is extremelly skilled and strikes from both feet. Karpin and Kovtun were other two figures, acting very good on the left flank. From the other hand, Kanchelskis and Tetradze didn't show any activity at all, as well as Kolyvanov and substitutes Nikiforov and Dobrovolsky. Simutenkov proved to be very fast, but the second goal was scored by Beschastnykh, who as always looked very self-assured in the penalty area. He scored after getting a nice pass from Nikiforov and fooling a couple of Polish defenders, with not a very strong shot in a far bottom corner of the goal. By the end of the game Radimov got injured, hopefully, not very seriously.

Previous games results

Italy - Russia [2:1]

Liverpool,june 11, 1996, group C game at Euro-96


Italy - Russia 2:1 (1:1)

[Casiraghi 5', 52' - Tsymbalar 21']
Att.: 35120 . Referee: L.W.Mottram, linesmen: R.Orr, J,Fleming (Scotland)
Italy :  Peruzzi, Apolloni, Maldini (cap.),
         Costacurta, Mussi, Albertini, Di Livio 
         (Fuser, 60), Di Matteo, Zola, Del Piero
         (Donadoni, 46'), Casiraghi (Ravanelli, 79')
Russia : Cherchesov, Tetradze, Kovtun, Onopko (cap.),
         Bushmanov (Yanovskij 46'), Tsymbalar' 
         (Dobrovol'skij 70'), Karpin (Kir'yakov 62'),
         Kanchelskis, Mostovoj, Radimov, Kolyvanov

Onopko, Albertini, Kolyvanov, Kovtun, Donadoni

A photo coverage by David Rawcliffe.

Russia played quite a good game, having a positional advantage due to the perfect "Spartak-like" short pass game. However, this tactics had a disadvantage: the ball was played in the midfield for too long time, and the famouse italian defence didn't pay any significant efforts to cancel not very dangerous Russian offence. Fast and rapid italian counteratacks were started mainly with a long pass from the midfield and fast forwards produced a lot of trouble for in fact only three russian defenders and the goalie Cherchesov
The first goal Italians scored after a mistake by Cherchesov: he kicked the ball exactly at the feet of an italian forward, which passed it to Casiraghi, and he made a terrific shot from a close distance.
Russians didn't stop after that goal, but started to gain the initiative thanks to very active play by Mostovoj and Kolyvanov and a perfect play of the right wing with Kanchelskis and Tetradze. In 52nd minute Tsymbalar picked up the ball at the left side of the penalty area and scored a powerful shot with the left foot.
Russia constantly dominated, but failed to gain anything. At the begining of the second half, Italians launched several fas attacks, and during one of them Casiraghi popped out from behind of Tetradze and nobody wasn't able to stop his shot. Generally, Russian defence was surprisingly coordinated and not rude at all, Kovtun and Yanovskij cancelled calmly many Italian attacks.
Inspite of a good play showed by single players and the team in whole, Russia had all the same sins: tendency to pass the ball to defenders instead of developing an offence and fear of shooting towards the goal: during all the game italians shoot on target 12 times, and Russian only once(!). Surprisingly, players come and go, coaches come and go, even the country changes its name, but the way of playing is still the same and does not bring a success.

Previous games results

Russia - Germany [0:3]

Manchester, june 16, 1996, group C game at Euro-96


Russia - Germany 0:3 (0:0)

[Sammer 56', Klinsmann 77', 90']
Att.: 50760. Referee: K.M.Nielsen (Denmark)
Russia : Kharin, Tetradze, Nikiforov, Kovtun, Onopko(cap.),
         Tsymbalar, Kanchelskis, Mostovoj, Radimov
         (Karpin, 46), Khokhlov (Simutenkov, 65), Kolyvanov
Germany: Koepke, Reuter, Helmer, Sammer, Babbel,
         Eilts, Moeller (Strunz, 96), Haessler (Freund, 66),
         Ziege, Klinsmann, Bierhoff (Kuntz, 84)

Kanchelskis, Babbel, Onopko, Bierhoff
Kovtun, 70'

The game itself was interesting, with plenty of action and almost equal in the first half. Although, the main activity was in the midfield, without any serious danger neither to Russian, nor to German goal. Few Russian attacks were quite fast, but the only Russian striker Kolyvanov and very active Mostovoy failed to score. Excellent performance was also shown by Tetradze and Kovtun, who didn't give any chance to German forwards in the first half. Kanchelskis, Nikiforov and Onopko were surprisingly passive, thus producing a gap between midfield and attack.
In the second half Russian side looked seemingly tired or at least loosing any interest to the game. Karpin, who replaced Radimov, showed even less activity that the latter. The first goal came after Kharin failed to catch the ball after the very strong shot by Sammer, and the German scored after a short struggle with defenders.
After that goal Russian offence didn't start to work better, which forced defenders like Kovtun to go forwards. Unfortunatelly, every time he crosses the middle line, he gets a red card. It happened this time too. Shortly before this Romantsev replaced defender Khokhlov by forward Simutenkov, which appeared to be a terrible mistake: Russia remained with only one capable defender, Tetradze. Nikiforov, who took the place of Kovtun, twice let Klinsmann to score. Russia lost virtually any chance to advance to the quarters.

Previous games results

Russia - Czech Republic [3:3]

Liverpool, June 19, 1996, group C game at Euro-96


Russia - Czech Republic 3:3 (0:2)

[Mostovoy 49', Tetradze 54', Beschastnykh 85' - 
Suchoparek 6', Kuka 19', Smicer 89']
Att.: 21128. Referee: A.Frisk (Sweden)
Russia : Cherchesov, Tetradze, Gorlukovich, 
         Nikiforov, Yanovskij, Karpin, Radimov, Khokhlov,
         Tsymbalar (Shalimov 65), Simutenkov (Mostovoj 46),
         Kolyvanov (Beschastnykh 46)
Czechia: Kouba, Hornak, Kubik, Suchoparek, Latal, 
         Bejbl, Berger (Nemecek 46), Nemec, Nedved, Kuka
         (Smicer 67), Poborski

Nedved, Nemec, Nikiforov, Radimov, Tsymbalar, Yanovskij

This was a logical end to the most disasterous performance of Russian national team. Having Onopko and Kovtun disqualified for the game, Russians didn't have any decent defender at all. Two mistakes by the veteran Gorlukovich led to two quick goals. Czechs had much more possibilities to score in the first half, since there were nobody in the defence, but the ball stroke a post. In the second half Russia desperatelly rushed to atack and suceeded after the good shot by Mostovoy and Tetradze, who didn't hesitate to strike after Radimov was tackled in the penalty area. Substitute Beschastnykh scored a beautiful goal from about 25 meters, which gave chances to Italians to go into the quarters, but in the very last minute Smicer scored the most dramatical goal of the tournament, letting Czechs to continue the tournament and forcing Italians to go home.
The overall impression of the Russia's performance at the Euro-96 is that Romantsev due to some mysterious reasons picked a team with 15 players out of 22 who didn't know how or didn't want to play. Some can blame players for lack of skills, but some can blame also the coach who is supposed to pick maybe not the best, but the most capable to compete players. Certainly, Romantsev is not the only one : Italia's manager Sacchi made the same mistakes, as well as Switzerland's Jorge and some others. One of the most intriguing things about the Russian National side: it consisted of foreign-based players from lowly teams like Tirol or Reggiana and Moscow Spartak players with exception of Tetradze and Yanovskij from Alaniya, Radimov and Khokhlov from CSKA and Kovtun from Moscow Dinamo. Taking in account that the reigning Russian champions are Alaniya and Cup-holders are Moscow Lokomotiv (they took the second place in the national championship too), it looks a bit weird why these teams are represented so little in the National side.

Previous games results

Russia - Brazil [2:2]

Moscow, 28 August 1996, friendly game.


Russia - Brazil 2:2 (1:0)

[Nikiforov 18' pen., Radimov 80' - Donizeti 47', Ronaldo 83' pen.]
Att.: 30 000. Referee: Vadim Zhuk (Belarus)

Russia:  Cherchesov, Mamedov, Nikiforov, Tikhonov (61.Kharlachyov), 
         Ternavsky, Tetradze, Onopko, Kanchelskis, Veretennikov (14.Radimov),
         Kolyvanov (77.Kechinov), Radchenko (66.Beschastnykh)
         Unused substitutes: Ovchinnikov, Solomatin, Gerasimenko.
Brazil:  Carlos Germano, Cafu, Goncalves, Andre Cruz, Ze Elias, Andre Luis,
         Donizete, Amaral, Giovanni, Leonardo (78.Ze Maria), Ronaldo
         Unused substitutes: Dida, Ronaldo Guiaro, Narciso, Ze Roberto, Beto, 
         Sergio Manoel.

Ze Elias, Andre Cruz, Cafu, Tetradze, Nikiforov
Cafu 76 (second yellow), Onopko 83.

Mike Dremin's report 
 (one of those masterpieces nobody will dare to translate) : 

Vo-pervyh, po harakteru match byl sovsem ne tovareshcheskim i v celom grubym. No s drugoy storony, vesma interesnym, a poslednie 15 minut -- prosto zahvatyvayushchim. Zhuk po-moemu nemnogo nam podsuzhival. 1:0 - Nikiforov(20,penalty - zarabotal Radimov) Po povodu penalty u menya est bolshie somneniya. Radimov zamenil v samom nachale igry Veretennikova, kotory poluchil travmu :(((((((((( Slava Bogu, Verya ushel s polya na svoih dvoih. Kolyvanov kak vsegda lupit v nebo, a vot Radchenko i Kanchelskis ochen horoshi. U nas byla para-troyka 100% momentov, kak v prochem i u nih. Leonardo i osobenno Ronaldinho zaprosto nakruchivayut po tri nashih zashchitnikov. 1:1 - Donizeti(47). Neudachnoe i kakoe-to rasslablennoe nachalo 2 tayma. Dvoe brazilcev v resultate bystroy ataki vyshli na dvoih nashih, no nashi pochemu-to oba prilipli k tomu, kto byl s myachom, a Donizeti pryamo po centru byl zabyt. Emu i posledoval tochny pas. Roskoshny epizod proizoshel na 67 minute. Ronaldinho zamykal podachu s uglovogo i bil v upor s linii vratarskoy, no myach byl vybit nashim zashchitnikom s linii vorot. Vybil on ego nedaleko, pryamo na togo zhe Ronaldinho (kotory i s mesta-to ne shodil), tot zalupil so strashnoy siloy v perekladinu, ot nee myach stuknulsa o liniyu vorot (tut i Tofik Bahramov by ne razobralsa, byl gol ili net!) i otskochil k Leonardo, kotory probil ne ochen uverenno -- i tut uzh Cherchesov brosilsa kak tigr, namertvo prizhav myach k svoim chernym usam. (no racism! ;))) Minute na 75 Cafu v centre polya vdrug vrezal po uhodyashchemu Kolyvanovu szadi, pri etom posledniy dolgo korchilsa na travke, posle chego ego gologo (nu, v smysle bez buts na nogah;) vynesli s polya zameniv na Kechinova. Cafu shlopotal krasnuyu kartochku. Odnako na povtore ne bylo vidno, chto udar byl nastolko silnym. 2:1 - Radimov(80). Masterpiece!!! Vlad udaril iz-za shtrafnoy sprava i popal chut nizhe devyatki brazilskih vorot. Carlos Germano (vratar) prygal tolko dlya ochistki svoey zhelto-zelyonoy sovesti. And personally: !!!GO RADIMOV GO ZARAGOZA GO!!! A vot dalshe... Gospodi, dokole nam v kozlah hodit?!?!?! Shla peredacha po diagonali cherez nashu shtrafnuyu, prichem dazhe esli ee by udalos prinyat, to uzhe u samoy licevoy linii -- vse vyglyadelo dostatochno spokoyno. I tut etot %$#%(#^%#)( Mamedov vdrug vozmi da i reshi: "Chegoy-to oni tut veshayut, eh?", podnyal svoyu izyashchnuyu ruchku i izmenil napravlenie polyota myacha. Dazhe Zhuk ne smog nichego podelat -- penalty. Sie "izdevatelstvo" nad nashey sbornoy och-chen' ne ponravilos kapitanu, etomu #$@%$&@%@ Onopko, kotory absolutno nichego ne delal vsyu igru, i on podoshel k refu i ochen spokoyno chto-to skazal. No nesmotrya na ego ton, Zhuk pochemu-to pobagrovel i vytashchil krasnuyu kartochku. Ves' put' Onopko do kromki polya byl obilno zaplyovan... 2:2 - Ronaldinho(85,penalty). Chto i trebovalos dokazat...:( Poslednie minuty byli ochen grubymi. Radimov ni s togo, ni s sego podkosil pered shtrafnoy Amarala, za chto zasluzhival gorchichnika, no ne poluchil ego. Na posledney minute vyshedshiy v konce Beschastnyh velikolepno rvanul za slishkom silno poslannym vperyod myachom, geroicheski ego dognal, ego svalil podospevshiy zashchitnik -- no Vova vstal na nogi ranshe ego (!), zabral myach i sdelal horoshuyu peredachu nabegayushchemu forwardu. A voobshche on potolstel i teper' napominayet Gazzu -- takaya zhe zhirnaya svinya:))) PS A setka na vorotah byla zhelto-zelyonaya...

Russia - Cyprus [4:0]

Moscow, Dynamo stadium, 1 September 1996. Qualification game for WC-98, 5th group


Russia - Cyprus 4:0 (2:0)

[Nikiforov 7', 50', Kolyvanov 34', Bestchastnykh 82']
Att. 15000 Ref. K.-E.Nilsson (Sweden)

Russia:  Cherchesov, Radimov (Kharlachev 68), Nikiforov, Mamedov,
         Ternavsky, Tetradze, Onopko, Kanchelskis, Beschastnykh,
         Kolyvanov (Tikhonov 55), Radchenko (Kanischev 46)
Cyprus:  Petrides, Larku (Timotheu 61), K.Pittas, D.Ioannu,
         G.Kristodulu, A.Andreu, M.Kristodulu, Panayi, Gogic,
         I.Ioannu (Theodotu 90), Alexandru (Malekos 78)   
M.Kristodulu 29', Panayi 62'

Israel - Russia [1:1]

Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan Stadium, 9 October 1996. Qualification game for WC-98, 5th group


Israel - Russia 1:1 (0:0)

[Brumer 64' - Kolyvanov 79']
Att. 48000. Ref. Batta (France)

Israel : Cohen, Halfon (Bennado, 80), Amsalem, Hazan, Brumer,
         Shelah, Banin, Revivo, Berkowitz (Zohar, 88), Harazi
         (Rosenthal 76), Nimni
Russia:  Cherchesov, Minko, Nikiforov, Bushmanov (Radimov, 66),
         Karpin, Tetradze, Onopko, Kanchelskis, Beschastnykh,
         Kolyvanov, Radchenko (Tikhonov, 46)

Revivo(66) - Radchenko(31), Beschastnykh(81)

Excerpts from Reuter (for Russian-readers - alternative report by Mike Dremin) :
...In their third attempt to qualify for a major international tournament since entering the European fray, the Israelis were initially a little overawed by the occasion and national expectations, which had been heightened by the 2-1 win over Bulgaria. Russia were faster and stronger in the first half but excellent defending by Israel's Felix Halfon, Gadi Brumer and Amir Shelah kept Russian striker Dmitry Radchenko and winger Andrei Kanchelskis at bay. At the other end, Russian goalkeeper Stanislav Cherchesov had little to do before the interval. But Israel got over their jitters and showed themselves more imaginative and skilful as they seized every opportunity to attack in the second half. Brumer put Israel ahead in the 64th minute, hitting a powerful free-kick from the edge of the penalty box through Russia's eight-man wall, leaving Cherchesov helpless to prevent the ball from going into the back of the net. Russia equalised in the 79th minute when the Israeli defence was caught badly off guard following an injury to Halfon, who had asked to be substituted only seconds earlier. Vladimir Beschastnykh moved in on the left, passed the ball to Valery Karpin, who in turn set up an easy chance for Igor Kolyvanov to score.

"I do not want to give too many compliments but this performance is a testament to the improvement of Israel's play," Russian coach Boris Ignatiev said. "In assessing the run of play I can only say that this is a fair result for both sides. We played well in the first half and Israel did well in the second."

Israel coach Shlomo Scharf said of the Russian goal: "That was a situation which we should never have allowed to happen. We were in control of the match and a bad error by Gadi (Brumer), who was out of position, allowed the Russians to score."

Luxembourg- Russia [0:4]

November 10, 1996ă. Qualification game for WC-98, 5th group


Luxembourg - Russia 0:4 (0:2)

[Tikhonov 33', Kanchelskis 37', Bestchastnykh 58', Karpin 78']
Att.5650 . Referee: Juha Hirviniemi (Finland)

Luxembourg : Koch, Vanek, Deville, Birsens, Strasser, Saibene, Ganser
         (Holtz 46), Weis, Langers, Thill (Amodio 81), Groff (Posing 4)
         Coach: Paul Philippe
Russia : Cherchesov (Ovchinnikov 74), Minko, Nikiforov, Ti╦honov,
         Karpin, Tetradze, Onopko, Kanchelskis, Besďchastny╦h
         (Radimov 79), Kolyvanov, Mostovoj (Bushmanov 46)
         Coach: Boris Ignatiyev

Nikiforov 37' (kicked the opponent)

Excerpts from Reuter (for Russian-readers - alternative report) :
Russia overwhelmed part-timers Luxembourg 4-0 in their World Cup qualifier on Sunday despite playing with 10 men for much of the match. Defender Yuri Nikiforov was dismissed in the 37th minute for kicking Luxembourg's veteran striker Roby Langers in front of a linesman with the ball nowhere in sight. The Russians had opened the scoring two minutes earlier when Andrei Tikhonov fired past goalkeeper Paul Koch after a dazzling run on the left wing. Everton striker Andrei Kanchelskis made it 2-0 two minutes after Nikiforov's dismissal, tipping the ball into an empty goal after intercepting a clumsy clearance by Koch. Vladimir Beschastnykh netted the third from close range off a corner kick 13 minutes after the interval and midfielder Valery Karpin beat Koch again nine minutes from time after taking a low centre by Kanchelskis from the right. Luxembourg, with just two professionals, never found their footing and managed only two clear scoring chances, one in each half, through Marc Birsens and Langers. The result took Russia top of group five, three points clear of Israel, who crashed 2-0 to Cyprus earlier.

Comments to : Oxana Smirnova,