Jun 17, 2014 at 11pm UK at ​Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba
South KoreaSouth Korea
Kerzhakov (74')
Shatov (48')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Keun-Ho (68')
Heung-Min (12'), Sung-Yueng (30'), Ja-Cheol (90')

Match Analysis: Russia 1-1 South Korea

Sports Mole deciphers the 1-1 draw between Russia and South Korea in World Cup Group H.

Russia were held to a 1-1 draw by South Korea in their opening game in World Cup Group H this evening.

With Belgium winning earlier on, both sides were hopeful of a win to boost their chances of making the knockout rounds.

However, neither side could take all three points, sharing the spoils after two second-half goals.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two Group H hopefuls.

Match statistics

Shots: 13
On target: 5
Possession: 50%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 15

South Korea
Shots: 8
On target: 5
Possession: 50
Corners: 4
Fouls: 7

Was the result fair?

With neither side possessing the necessary quality or ambition to win this game, a draw was probably a fair result here in the end. South Korea had the better of the first half without truly threatening, while Russia struggled to find any sort of rhythm. Both sides would have hoped to put a marker down within a group which Belgium are favourites to win, so they might be disappointed to have not been able to take all three points tonight.

Russia's performance

While not a tale of two halves, Russia were certainly better after the interval tonight. Before half time, they were truly woeful to watch, with CSKA Moscow defender Sergei Ignashevich hammering long balls up front to a lost-looking Aleksandr Kokorin to chase down. In the second half, the introduction of Alan Dzagoev changed their dynamic completely, and it will be a huge surprise if Fabio Capello omits him from the starting lineup in their next game. The experience of Aleksandr Kerzhakov also aided their cause for a point, with the 31-year-old grabbing his team's vital equaliser.

South Korea's performance

Although they were only playing friendly matches, South Korea came into this one in awful form. However, they can be encouraged by a pretty decent display, and never looked like being outplayed by an out-of-sorts Russian side. Son Heung-Min is easily their best player from an attacking point of view, with his influence in the first half making them the far better team. After the break, Son's own performance dropped slightly, but they still had enough to take the lead via Lee Keun-Ho's long-range strike. Manager Hong Myung-Bo will be pleased to get off the mark with a point, and he will believe that his side will be able to qualify for the last 16.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Alan Dzagoev: While a strong case can be made for Son Heung-Min, Russia's Alan Dzagoev should take the plaudits, despite playing just over half an hour tonight. Without the CSKA Moscow midfielder on the field, Fabio Capello's side would surely have slumped to defeat. When he came on, he immediately started to carry his team forward positively, eventually playing a key role in their equalising goal. This certainly wasn't a world-class display from Dzagoev, but he influenced the game for his team and helped grab the point.

Biggest gaffe

There can only be one winner of this 'award', and that goes to Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. We tipped the goalie to be a key man for his team at this World Cup, but his error tonight probably casts doubts on his place in the team for the next match. Having struggled with shots from distance all night, Akinfeev was finally beaten by Lee Keun-Ho's hopeful crack from distance. It was an okay attempt from Lee, but Akinfeev should have gathered it comfortably. Instead, he scooped it up, back and into his own net, making it easily the biggest goalkeeper gaffe of the tournament so far.

Referee performance

Argentine Nestor Pitana was in charge of tonight's affair, but in truth he barely had a decision to make. He dished out four yellow cards during the 90 minutes, with the only one he perhaps got wrong that of Son Heung-Min early on. Besides that, Pitana and his assistants managed to avoid much of the spotlight, which can only ever be a good thing.

What next?

Russia: Capello's side take on group leaders Belgium on Sunday, June 22 in Rio de Janeiro.

South Korea: Later the same day, South Korea will meet with Algeria in Porto Alegre.

Lee Keun-Ho of South Korea celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Lee Chung-Yong during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Russia and South Korea at Arena Pantanal on June 17, 2014
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Result: Russia, South Korea take a point each
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