Russia took full advantage of England`s defeat and secured a place at Euro
2008 with a 1-0 win over Andorra.
Dmitri Sychev scored the all important goal just before the break to give Guus
Hiddink's side victory.
The Russians survived a missed penalty from Denis Kolodin and the late
sending-off of Andrei Arshavin to secure their ticket to the Alps.
Russia began slowly and the opening minutes were evenly balanced.
News then quickly spread around the ground that Croatia had gone ahead at
Wembley and there was an even bigger cheer soon afterwards as the Russian fans
realised Group E rivals England were two down.
The Russia supporters urged on their side but Alvarez was equal to everything
Guus Hiddink`s side could throw at him.
The experienced keeper saved well from Alexander Kerzhakov and also got down
well to keep out a low free-kick from Kolodin as the first half progressed.
Russia finally got the breakthrough five minutes before half-time.
The inspiration came from the bench as substitute Dmitri Torbinsky set up a
goal with his first touch.
The Spartak Moscow winger found space on the right and sent over a precise
cross for Sychev who headed over the advancing Alvarez and into the empty net.
Russia spurned a great chance to go two ahead just before the interval after
Alvarez brought down Kerzakhov in the area.
The Andorra keeper injured himself in the process but got up to make an
excellent save from Kolodin`s spot-kick.
Alvarez could not continue after the break but his replacement Jose Antonio
Gomes was kept busy by the Russian attack.
Torbinsky, playing almost as a third striker, was a constant threat and forced
Gomes into two good saves.
Kerzakhov also had a shot blocked as Russia continued to press.
The visitors lost some of their momentum when news came through that England
had levelled at 2-2 with Croatia.
Andorra began to see more of the ball and defender Toni Lima shot over the bar
on a rare home attack.
But cheers soon rang around the ground again when the Russian fans learned of
Croatia`s third goal.
Arshavin was sent off late on for violent conduct but Russia could soon start