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Friday, November 1, 2019 10:26:28 PM

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The prominent Russian motivational speaker, Andrey Arshavin. That was the reflex request after this tournament's opening game this afternoon, an affair that was expected to be the more dreary of the Group A curtain-raisers but turned out to be quite the lark.

Attacking verve, jarring speed and dramatic twists, Poland and Greece served up a spectacle that really didn't need to be spiced up by absurd refereeing but was, nonetheless. Russia and the Czech Republic certainly have the ability to crank the quality rating up even higher … and it would not be a complete surprise if Howard Webb outdid the hijinks of his Spanish counterpart in the early fixture.

So stay tuned! Russia are the favourites and, indeed, many people's crafty fancy for a semi-final place, at least. They're a resolutely attacking side and capable of eminently nifty interplay even though that renowned purveyor of happy vibes, Andrei Arshavin, says "we lack too much speed to go far.

Roman Shirokov will drive menacingly from midfield; and I've placed a modest sum on Aleksandr Kerzakhov to be the tournament's top scorer.

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The Czechs, meanwhile, do not look like especially daunting opponents. They finished miles behind Spain in the qualifying group and only edged out Scotland thanks to an ignoble dive at Hampden Park. Half of their four victories in the qualifiers were against Liechtenstein.

Nonetheless, let's not be a giddy Spanish ref and dismiss them too rashly: for they have a decent wideman - Jan Rezek and Vaclav Pilar - on either flank and Rosicky prompting behind, um, Milan Baros, the man on whom everyone claims to have staked a tenner to be top scorer back in Euro , when his pre-tournament odds were I'll give you 5,, on him winning a gilded boot again here.

Which means, erm, that the Czechs should have the edge in the scrums.

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The Russian hymn is a more uplifting affair, although Dick Advocaat remains steadfastly uninspired by it, apparently, as he stands impassive on the sideline like Mr Tayto's joyless elder brother.

And within two seconds Webb must blow his whistle as Rezek clonks Kerzakhov. This time Malafeev punches it soundly to safety. But a reasonable opening from the Czechs.

Russian are yet to get into their groove. What they need is one of those famously uplifting pep talks from their captain. Come on Andriy! But his first touch, moments ago, was to tonk the ball straight out of play when a deft pass might have put Kerzakhov through.

Gebre Selassie has just raided all the way down the left wing before feeding Jiracek, who danced past two Russians The Czechs are nothing special at all but are being allowed to canter into space all over the pitch - a better team than them would already have already exploited it and be a goal or two up.

Arshavin slid a lovely pass through to the overlapping Zhirkov, who pulled a pass back from the by-line to Kerzakhov, whose side-footer went wide.

Russia Czech Republic Dzagoev 15' Zyranov clipped a beautiful cross to Kerzahov, whose header from eight yards rebounded out of the post Russia gave them the initiative but they weren't good enough to take advantage and now Russia have found their mojo and are starting to zip the ball around with gusto.

A slick Russian counterattack ripped the Czechs asunder and Dzagoev, completely unmarked, was presented with a chance to do whatever he liked with the ball from 18 yards. Composure abandoned him, however, and he slashed wildly wide.

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Another Plasil corner was allowed to float to an opponent, but Rezek's header was saved. Russia Czech Republic Shirokov 24' After Plasil gives the ball away in midfield, a prompt pass from Arshavin dissects the static Czech defence and Shirokov dinks the ball over Cech.

They could fill their boots today. But it narrowly eludes Zyranov. Plasil's freekick is repelled by the first man.

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And he has a point. Arshavin whizzes down the left and then cuts the ball back for Kerzakhov, who fires inches over! The swine is taunting me and my bet! Be a few English clubs looking at him I imagine. Having said that, you're right, Arshavin has turned terrific after an insignificant first 10 minutes.

Signs of this are already becoming apparent but, again, the Czechs have not been able to summon enough precision in their passing to punish the slackness.

And going forward, the Russians continue to look intent on enjoying themselves.

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How did he convey his charm? It reads: "Angela Merkel thinks we're at work! But Plasil slipped as the tried to deliver and the ball does not go into the danger zone. But he does neither. Half-time: Greece mounted an improbable turn-around in the second half earlier today but a Czech comeback seems even more unlikely here.

They simply do not appear to be good enough to make best use of the space that the Russians occassionally give them.

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Advocaat might be minded to make a substitute or two to prevent his team sliding any further into complacency. Some Izmailov and Pogrebynak action would go down well, for instance.

  • Russia vs Czech Republic live streaming: Match preview It is the fourth day of the Ice Hockey World Championship, and fittingly there are four matches to enjoy. Russia have looked very strong so far and are undoubtedly one of the contenders to win this tournament.
  • Jae C. Dominik Kubalik, Roman Cervenka, Kovar and Erat are a few of the scoring threats for the Czechs, who also have a collection of defensemen eager to contribute to the attack.
  • The annual tournament features fun, fast-paced play and gives hockey fans a look at some of the elite young prospects who will be making their way to the NHL soon.
  • In the United States, the game starts Tuesday at p. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial , and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
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  • For example, for the Winter Olympics , the first nine teams of the Men's World Ranking and the first six of the Women's World Ranking were pre-qualified.

Russia could win by four or five if they're bothered. That seems an attempt to shore things up and prevent the concession of more goals, which might torpedo their chances of scraping through the group on goal difference.

That shouldn't concern them: on this evidence they are infgerior to Poland and Greece and will be eliminated on points. Hopefully, our Dutch coach has made some punishment during the break.

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A minute later Kerzakhov is presetned with another opportunity but bog-toes the ball wide from the edge of the area. Russia Czech Republic Pilar 52' Russia are eventually punished for their negligence!

Plasil was given enough room to swing an elephant in midfield. But that would have been ridiculous so, after sizing up his options, he instead slipped a lovely pass through to Pilar, who rounded the goalkeeper to slot into the net.

A game that should have been over is now back on. Again Plasil's delivery is met by a Czech but Gebre Selassie couldn't direct his header on target. Instead he found Finland.

Bet you didn't know that'," reveals Phil Sawyer. Or do advertisers now assume viewers are so stupid they need these things spelled out to them? Pekhart might be a useful introduction at this point. Rather than show a replay, the cameraman decides to pan to a pretty blonde lady in the crowd.

You clown!

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After a superb through-ball by Arshavin, the striker slashes wastefully wide yet again! He should have already secured the golden boot - and my fortune - by now. Kerzakhov romps down the right and all the way into a prime shooting position

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