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Russia too impotent to crack Lithuania in friendly (VIDEO)

Published time: May 30, 2012 05:48
Edited time: May 30, 2012 09:50

Russia's Arshavin fights for the ball with Lithuania's Borovskij during their friendly soccer match in Nyon ( REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud)

Download video (22.85 MB)

Team Russia began their final preparations for the Euros with a goalless draw against Lithuania in Switzerland. Dick Advocaat's men dominated for the most part in what looked like a largely one-sided affair, but could not find the finishing touch.

Of the final two preparation matches before heading off to Warsaw to play Euro co-hosts Poland, Russia's game versus Lithuania was by far the easier on paper.

Starting in place of Vyacheslav Malafeev, who played in Russia's 1:1 draw with Uruguay, was CSKA's stopper Igor Akinfeev.

But after a hectic start, where both sides hit the crossbar, he was rarely troubled by Lithuania's lethargic attack.

In the middle of the park, Roman Shirokov and Igor Denisov were increasingly running show, with neat passing and calm work on the ball.

Aleksandr Kerzhakov came close on a number of occasions, as did Andrey Arshavin, but neither seemed find a way through Lithuania's stubborn defense.

Half time came with Russia clearly controlling the game, but without anything to show for it.

Advocaat opted to make some changes, bringing on four players, including Roman Pavlyuchenko for Kerzhakov.

The second half began pretty much as the first half ended, with Russia camping in their opponent's half.

For Lithuania this was largely a meaningless game, having failed to qualify for the upcoming Euros, but as the match came to an end they managed to hold on to a well-deserved draw.

Dick Advocaat was rather nonplussed by the end result, but was happy Lithuania had managed to frustrate his team.

Aleksandr Kerzhakov blamed the lackluster result on Lithuania's refusal to play properly in attack, while Roman Shirokov put it down to a lack of width in Russia's game.

For all of Russia's early initiative and ball possession, in the end Lithuania proved too stubborn to break down. Advocaat's four changes at half time also failed to make any noticeable difference to the game.

Not even Russia's main hit-man Andrey Arshavin, who is celebrating his 31st birthday Wednesday, could not muster the much-needed killer strike to give Russia victory.

Russia now has one game left to prepare for the Euros, and that will be their toughest test, against 2006 World Champs Italy in Zurich on Friday.

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