Russia 1 South Korea 1: Fabio Capello in a forgiving mood as he thanks squad for 'present' in making up for Igor Akinfeev's goalkeeping error

Russian manager forgives goalkeeper ahead of his 68th birthday

Fabio Capello had said he didn’t expect any presents ahead of his 68th birthday today, only to see goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev give Korea a 68th-minute gift.

As such, the Russia manager was more than grateful for the way his team responded, as substitute Alexander Kerzhakov equalised Lee Keun-ho’s fortuitous strike to secure a 1-1 draw.

“I thanked the team for their reaction and told them that was the greatest birthday gift I could receive."

Akinfeev’s error, however, was one of the great World Cup slips. The goalkeeper attempted to catch a relatively soft long shot, only to haplessly divert it into the net.

“People can make mistakes,” Capello said, somewhat forgivingly. “I am very happy with the work of Akinfeev because he is a great goalkeeper.”

The deeper issue for the former England manager - who notoriously relived many of the more negative elements of his opening game to 2010, a 1-1 draw with USA - was that Russia made a whole host of errors elsewhere, particularly early on.

 

It was Korea that put in the better display, and probably deserved the win. Capello wouldn’t go that far, but accepted it had been far from perfect for Russia.

“In the first part of the game we were quite narrow, we were concerned, we were worried,” Capello said. “We had problems getting the ball around.”

Until they managed to turn it around. “It means the team is great and they can do it,” the Italian insisted.

“We could have won the game. There was a wonderful reaction by our team after the goal we suffered. We developed a crescendo. We grew.”

The key question is by how much they can still grow. Can Russia really make a next step now, or does Capello’s fundamental approach remain too stifling?

Those questions are not the only issues deepening the parallels with the 2010 English side. Russia still have to meet Algeria and, should they get through that, a potential last-16 game against a rampant Germany.

For now, though, Capello is only looking to the present.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border