Minus Neymar Brasil blows out Russia 3-0 in a World Cup tune up match.
The Daily Mail:” When Stanislav Cherchesov was appointed as head coach of Russia in 2016 there was one clear objective: reach the semi-finals of the World Cup on home soil.
That target has always seemed absurdly unrealistic and is even more so after this disappointing collapse against five-time world champions Brazil.
The idea behind this friendly against Brazil in Moscow and Tuesday’s game against France in Saint Petersburg is to build interest among supporters.
Unfortunately any side who test themselves against Brazil often come unstuck. That eventually happened with Miranda, Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho all scoring in a second half that made Russia appear very ordinary against one of world football’s super powers.
Not one of Russia’s starting line-up play outside the Russian Premier League. Cherchesov didn’t take any risks and opted for a 3-5-2 formation with the intention of stopping Brazil from easily passing their way to victory in the Luzhniki Stadium, which will host the final at this summer’s tournament.
It was a clever strategy by the former Legia Warsaw manager and it took a direct approach for Brazil to work their first opening. Dani Alves passing the ball over 30 yards to Gabriel Jesus but Igor Akinfeev moved quickly to deny him from close range.
There was concern for the Manchester City forward when he went down under a robust challenge by defender Fyodor Kudryashov.
He has struggled with a long-term knee injury but was able to continue after receiving treatment.
Brazil had lost only once in their last 17 games before this game but were nearly behind shortly before half-time.
Aleksei Miranchuk, who along with Aleksandr Samedov and Alan Dzagoev, is someone who will be relied upon to help Russia get out of Group A against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.
He won’t get many better chances than the one that was presented to him when Fyodor Smolov worked the ball into the six-yard area only for Miranchuk to shoot over.
Brazil needed little invitation after half-time in giving Russia a lesson in finishing – a lesson that would have been flawless had Paulinho not missed a simple chance three yards out.
Willian’s deflected effort off Samedov required an excellent reaction save by Ikinfeev to keep Russia level.
But the 31-year-old goalkeeper would have little joy a minute later after Willian moved forward unchallenged. His cross was headed towards goal by Thiago Silva. Akinfeev did well to keep out the Paris Saint-Germain defender’s effort but couldn’t stop Miranda scoring from the rebound.
At that point you expected Russia to retreat. They didn’t do that. Dzagoev came on for Miranchuk and Russia looked positive for nine minutes at least until Aleksandr Golovkin brought down Paulinho inside his own box.
Coutinho dispatched the spot kick calmly to notch his ninth goal in 33 appearances for Brazil, and from that moment Russia faded. Paulinho added a third goal after more clever play from Willian.
Brazil will be given a sterner test when they head to Berlin to play Germany on Tuesday.
Tite’s players are more focused than the side that were humiliated 7-1 in Belo Horizonte four years ago. There was a sign of defensive weakness in Brazil’s backline late on in Moscow when Thiago Silva had to clear off the line after goalkeeper Alisson was chipped after he moved out of position.