Vasili Berezutski keen to put record straight for Russia

The last time the Russians featured in a World Cup was back in 2002 as they prepare to face South Korea in Cuiaba

Russian national soccer team before their international friendly against Morocco at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow. in this June 6, 2014 file photo.  Vasili Berezutski is pictured top right.

Russian national soccer team before their international friendly against Morocco at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow. in this June 6, 2014 file photo. Vasili Berezutski is pictured top right.

 

Russia defender Vasili Berezutski believes his side have a point to prove as they continue preparations for their opening World Cup Group H match against South Korea in Cuiaba tonight.

The last time the Russians featured in a World Cup was back in 2002, where they were dumped out of the tournament in the group stages having only accumulated three points.

Following 12 years in the abyss the team – led by former England manager Fabio Capello – managed to finish first ahead of Portugal in qualifying by playing an exciting brand of attacking football.

The 31-year-old Berezutski, who has 78 caps to his name, has paid tribute to the impact Capello has made since taking over back in July 2012. “We have things to prove in this World Cup,” Berezutski said.

“It’s been 12 years since Russia have participated in the World Cup so our objective is to play more than three games, try to qualify from our group and after that we will see.

‘Working hard’

“Capello demands discipline and it’s a good thing because everyone is working hard, giving 100 per cent in every session. On the other hand, nobody knows us from outside as everybody plays in the domestic competition.”

Russia suffered a blow earlier this month when it emerged that captain Roman Shirokov would miss the showpiece event due to a knee injury. Forward Alexander Kokorin hopes his side are able to show their credentials, while admitting that he is feeling the pressure ahead of his World Cup debut.

“For us it’s very important to show 100 per cent of what we’re capable of during the group stage and try to qualify without any pressure and then if we qualify try our best to go as far as possible.

“I really feel a big responsibility because everybody is talking about me as possibly one of the surprises of this World Cup.”

POSSIBLE LINE-UPS

Russia: Akinfeev, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Eshchenko, Schennikov, Zhirkov, Samedov, Faizulin, Denisov, Shatov, Kokorin

South Korea: Jung Sung-ryong, Lee Yong, Kwak Tae-hwi, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Chang-soo, Ki Sung-yeung, Han Kook-young, Lee Chung-yong, Son Heung-min, Koo Ja-cheol, Park Chu-young.

Some Key Stats South Korea’s best finish at a World Cup was fourth place in 2002 on home soil. After the break up of the Soviet Union, Russia have appeared at two World Cup finals, failing to make it out of the group stage in 1994 and 2002.

Previous meetings: The only previous meeting between the teams was just before the draw for the World Cup finals, when Russia beat South Korea 2-1 in a November friendly in Dubai last year.

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