World Cup: Russia coach Fabio Capello praises reaction in draw with South Korea

Image: Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is left with his head in his hands

Russia coach Fabio Capello paid tribute to the way his players responded to Igor Akinfeev’s astonishing blunder to secure a 1-1 draw against South Korea.

The previously drab Group H contest – the final game in the opening round of matches in Brazil 2014 – was enlivened by a shocking error from the Russia goalkeeper in the 68th minute.

Akinfeev had already spilled several shots during the clash in Cuiaba before he allowed a routine long-range effort from substitute Lee Keun-ho to slip through his fingers and into the net.

But Russia, who will host the 2018 tournament, responded swiftly and were back on terms through Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who stepped off the bench in the 71st minute and scored just three minutes later.

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The opportunist strike saw Kerzhakov join Vladimir Beschastnykh as his country's record goalscorer with 26 and earned additional praise from a relieved Capello.

The former England boss told the BBC: “It was a good game, they ran a lot in the first half, but then they were tired.

“The goal they scored, it was not easy. But the reaction from the players was really good.

“This is really important for me, the reaction, and we had chances to score the second goal.

“I know Kherzhakov very well, he is a fantastic player and he always gives us a chance to score goals.”

The Akinfeev incident will have given Capello unpleasant flashbacks of Rob Green's mistake for England against the United States at the 2010 World Cup.

But he added: "Just like some players can miss penalties it can happen that a keeper makes a mistake as well.

"You can accept a mistake from a great keeper like Akinfeev. Today it turned out fine."

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