England 1-1 Russia: Three Lions fail to halt opening match's taboo

A stupendous Eric Dier freekick 15 minutes from time looked to have handed England a precious win, but Denis Glushakov earned Russia a point in the last highlight of the match.

England 1-1 Russia: Three Lions fail to halt opening match's taboo
England and Russia share spoils. l Photo: ESPN Deportes
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England: Hart; Walker, Rose, Cahill, Smalling, Sterling, Lallana, Kane, Rooney, Dier, Alli.
Russia: Akinfeev; Smolnikov, Ignasevich, Neustadter, Kokorin, Smolov, Golovin, V.Berezutski, Shatov, Schennikov, Dzyuba.
SCORE: 1-0, min.73, Dier. 1-1, min.92, Glushakov.
REFEREE: Nicole Rizzoli (ITA).

England against Russia had to be a match which put aside the tension that has arised in Marseille in the previous days, where England fans were targeted by Russian fans. 

Yet, it ignited more the rivalry between both sets of teams as, while the fans were provoking each other from the stands, the match ended in a tense 1-1 draw, wih England drawing the first blood 15 minutes from time while Russia salvaged a point on the 92nd minute.

Strong display from England but they fail to capitalise 

It was an electric start for Roy Hodgson's boys as, after three minutes, Tottenham Hotspur's hot prospect Dele Alli fired a shot from outside the box, although he failed to hit the target. 

England kept on piling pressure on their opponents, stretching the field wide and allowing the likes of Adam Lallana and Wayne Rooney to penetrate Russia's backline. This tactical system almost produced the goods immediately as Kyle Walker bypassed Russia's defenders on the right flank, whipped in a low cross back to Lallana, who was quick to fire a shot which was saved by Igor Akinfeev

A few minutes later, it was England again who took the initiative with Raheem Sterling delivering a good cross from the left wing, which was flicked by Alli onto Harry Kane but the latter mistimed the ball and failed to connect with it. 

Chris Smalling almost headed home on the 11th minute too, but Akinfeev repelled everything thrown at him. 

England though they had forged ahead before the half hour mark when Kane slotted past Akinfeev after receiving the ball from his Spurs' team-mate, but he was judged offside. 

One of the final chances of the first 45 minutes came through Rooney, who fired a stunning shot that Akinfeev was ready to parry. 

Adam Lallana with a big-time opportunity in the first half l Photo: uefa.com
Adam Lallana with a big opportunity in the first half. l Photo: UEFA

Eric Dier strikes, Denis Glushakov replies

Leonid Slutsky looked to have energised his players in the dressing room as Russia started the second half brightly, pushing forward in search of the first goal. 

The first player to go close was Fyodor Smolov, but his delightful placed effort went inches from Joe Hart's post. 

Russia kept on pushing forward, using Artem Dzyuba as their target man upfront, however they failed to harm England's backline.

England instead responded on the 70th minute when Danny Rose delivered a low ball from the left flank, which ended up on Rooney's feet who, without thinking twice, tried to slot it past Akinfeev but the latter managed to stop that one as well.

It was England who finally broke the duck, when Eric Dier fired in a sumptuous free kick to hand Hodgson's team the lead. 

The goal was greeted with relief and England could have doubled their lead on a couple of occasions.

Eric Dier slams the ball past Igor Akinfeev to break the deadlock l Photo: uefa.com
Eric Dier slams the ball past Igor Akinfeev to break the deadlock. l Photo: UEFA

Yet, Russia were still in the match and, with the aid of new faces on the field, they stepped up their game, giving England a hard time. Still, the Three Lions seemed to have what it would take to preserve the lead.

Denis Glushakov had other plans though. A whipped cross from outside the box ended on Vasiliy Berezutskiy's head, whose connection with the ball was perfect as it lobbed over everyone and was slotted neatly by Glushakov, amid the disappointment of England and the fierce celebrations from Russia. 

Vasiliy Berezutskiy's fierce celebration as Russia level terms l Photo: ESPN Deportes
Vasiliy Berezutskiy's fierce celebration as Russia level terms. l Photo: ESPN Deportes