Ireland - 2 Russia - 3
The game against Ireland was very important for the team of Dick Advocaat. In case of defeat, Russia would be in a difficult situation as much in the sense of the tournament as in a psychological sense. Before the match many experts underlined that the Russian team would face a very motivated and disciplined team which has a strong character. It is strange, but for most of the time of the game in Dublin the host team hardly played as they usually do. They were a downcast, weak-willed team, making a huge number of mistakes in defense. It was the Irish team which usually let through no more than one goal from the leaders of European football. The Russians, who played easily against the hosts, could have scored a dozen goals. By the 50th minute the score was three goals to nil, and it seemed to be a catastrophe.
The Russian team took their chances: Kerzhakov kicked the ball into the goal in the 11th minute, Dzagoyev - after an amazing combination - in the 29th, and Shirokov - after a ricochet in the 50th. The Irish team seemed to be doomed, and the Russians seemed set to win with a big goal lead. However, Trappatoni's team managed to play better and show that the team has character. After Zhirkov fouled, and Robby Keane realized a penalty kick, the game changed.
The Irish team took the initiative and started to attack. By the 78th minute the situation was critical for the Russian team as the host managed to score another goal. The end of the game was very nervous; both teams could have put the ball into the goal. But the score did not change, at the end. It was a very important victory for Russia.
Armenia-Slovakia 3:1The Armenian team made a good present for the Russians as they won easily against Slovakia. After the Slovak team beat the Russians in Moscow, they became the main contenders for first place in a group. But they lost completely in a game against Armenia.
After three games Ireland, Slovakia and Russia have 6 points each and one defeat. The struggle for a place in the Euro-2012 finals starts again.
Georgy Saralidze. Exclusively for VK