Football – International friendlies
Russia 2-2 USA
A great game took place on Wednesday night in Russia’s southern city of Krasnodar between the national teams of Russia and the US. Despite a friendly status, it was quite intense and the outcome was not decided until the final moments of the contest. The visitors led by the legendary German player Jurgen Klinsman came back twice and denied the home crowd a victory celebration.
Yes and speaking of the crowd, there were 28 000 people watching the match at Kuban stadium in Krasnodar and they were definitely disappointed after the Americans scored three minutes into stoppage time.
The final whistle was blown right after Mikkel Diskerud equalized, ending the game where the Russians had the upper hand but could not hold on to the win. Fedor Smolov opened the score early in the first half, when Zenit’s striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov took advantage of a defensive blunder and sent the Anzhi striker one on one with Tim Howard.
By the way, the American goalkeeper was probably the hero of the team having saved his side several times in the match. And that probably infused confidence in the players as well, who not only held out until the latter part of the second half, but managed to equalize in the 76th minute as well.
Yes, Michael Bradley was to thank for that but the Russians pulled ahead once again just eight minutes later with Roman Shirokov sending the ball and the keeper into different directions after a penalty kick. And finally, once again, the Americans came back in a similar time increment and leveled matters in this friendly match.
So 2-2, a commendable score, considering the level of passion displayed at that training match but we can still try to evaluate the form of the Russian national team… who should have really won the game against the US.
On Friday the world's strongest figure skaters will resume the battle for a spot in the Grand Prix final in Sochi. This time around Grand Prix final will have a stop in France where Eric Bompard trophee will be held.
Figure skaters from all over the world will fight for precious points that will guarantee them a place in the culminating GP finale. By the way some of the athletes have already booked a ticket to Sochi and how about we name those lucky skaters?
Let's do that. Predictably the reigning world and Olympic champions in ice-dancing Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won two events they took part in namely Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup and easily progressed in the final. Their compatriot, two-time world title holder Patrick Chan is also among the finalist as his victory in Moscow and second place in Canada granted him a berth in the final.
Finnish skater, two time European medalist Kira Korpi will also show up in Sochi as two podium places in China and Russia were enough for a trip to the future capital of winter Olympics. A quick reminder Korpi finished third in Shanghai and took a solid victory in Moscow.
Of course the highly anticipated Grand Prix final will not be held without Russia's participation as two Russian couples have already made it into one of the season's most significant tournaments. Russia's ice-dancing duo of Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitriy Solovyev were the first duet to progress to Sochi and later the 2012 European champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov joined their younger counterparts by putting their names on the list of contenders to win the final.
Undoubtedly Russia's representation in home Grand Prix final can be extended on condition national skaters finish in the top three in the remaining figure skating events in France and Japan. So, let's tell our listeners who can enter the final in Sochi after the 5th figure skating Grand Prix event in France.
Unfortunately Russia will not be represented in Men's program and this means that all the guys who took part in various Grand prix events failed to progress to the final in Sochi. Evgeniy Plushenko didn't compete and his young teammates couldn’t deliver their best skating.
In women's field all the eyes will be on Russian talents Elizaveta Tukhtamysheva and Yulia Lipnitskaya who have great makings of becoming world leaders as despite their young age they have already recorded splendid victories at senior level. These two girls have secured chances of advancing to the final but if course they need to display the maximum of the potential in Bercy.
Christina Gao and Ashley Wagner of the USA will also battle for spots in the Grand Prix final.
To great regret of all the Russian fans one of the most gifted national skaters Adelina Sotnikova lost all of the chances to perform in Sochi in December of this year as her dismal performance in Moscow resulted in just 5th place which of course will not allow the two-time junior world champion to compete in the Grand Prix final.
Adelina Sotnikova’s coach Elena Vodorezova commented on her student’s result in the following way:
Well you know Adelina is working hard and she is trying to show her best skating. Of course we want her to perform great and demonstrate faultless programs. But unfortunately sometimes she commits errors, I can’t explain why this happens. These are not technical mistakes, I think they come from Adelina's psychology. She lands all the jumps splendidly during training sessions, she had never had troubles with Flip but in short program she fell on this element. She is in good shape and is ready to compete for top spots just she couldn’t cope with anxiety, but we will work on this and hopefully next starts will be more successful for us.
In ice-dancing Ekaterina Puskasha and Johnattan Guerreiro along with Ekaterina Ryaznaova and Ilya Tkachenko will defend Russia's colors in France. But we have to admit that the task of qualifying for Sochi finale will be practically impossible for them. It's more likely gold in this figure skating discipline will be taken by the hosts of the ice, two-time European champions Natalie Pechalat and Fabien Bourzat.
And finally in pair skating two national couples will battle for a place on the podium. the runners up of the Cup of China Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov will apply efforts on taking first place and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov who earned bronze in China will do everything possible to reach their career first Grand Prix final.
Let's wish the best of luck to all of the competitors who are taking part in the Eric Bompard trophee in France. Once again the competition kicks off on Friday and medalists will be awarded on Saturday.