“Russia was the best team. They were better than us,” Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. “We needed to demonstrate better quality if we wanted the top spot.” In Baku, Roman Shirokov gave Russia the lead in the 16th minute from a cutting pass from Alexander Samedov. Vagif Javadov headed in the equalizer in the 90th. Azerbaijan was reduced to 10 men in the 73rd when Maksim Medvedev was given a red card for a rough tackle. “I’m satisfied with this qualifying campaign,” Russia coach Fabio Capello said. “With such a strong opponent as Portugal in our group, we grabbed the top place.” Capello still had some concerns, saying it was the third time that Russia conceded a goal in the last minute. “We should look ahead and improve our game,” he said. Portugal also had to go through the playoffs to qualify for its last two major tournaments, the 2012 European Championship and 2010 World Cup. It was a semifinalist at Euro 2012. The Portuguese have been dogged by inconsistency.
Russias Investigative Committee says the evidence against the men, ages 19 and 21, includes components for the preparation of explosive materials found in an abandoned house in the Kirov region. Asias gas importers set sights on U.S. shale Chico Harlan North Americas shale bonanza could lead to the first West-to-East gas trade and drive down prices in Asia. Kevin Sieff and Sayed Salahuddin The killing of Arsala Jamal is one of the most high-profile assassinations this year. Simon Denyer China aims to secure energy supplies with large Central and Southeast Asian investments. In a statement Tuesday, the committee says the mens alleged plan to attack the Maradykovsky facility in Kirov would have risked the deaths of hundreds. The committee doesnt name the men but alleges they were proponents of Wahhabism an ultra-conservative form of Islam and that extremist literature was found at their residence. The North Caucasus, a predominantly Muslim region in Russias south, has been roiled by a growing Islamic insurgency. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Russia qualifies for 2014 World Cup
The final score looked a little surprising as Azerbaijan equalized late Tuesday, but the ultimate outcome was more or less expected: Russia is back into the World Cup (as Group F winner, no less) after failing to qualify for Germany 2006 or South Africa 2010. Russia needed just a single point against Azerbaijan to book its latest spot under Capello, whose World Cup reputation was a bit in tatters following Englands unimpressive 2010 appearance. This will be Russias first World Cup since 2002, when the country failed to move beyond group stage. The Russians havent advanced past group stage in the tournament since the 1980s, in fact, when talented teams under the old Soviet Union banner advanced into the second stage in 1982 and 1986. Russia nearly made it to South Africa three-plus years ago but fell in a playoff to Slovenia. Capello was hired two years ago to shepherd the team successfully to Brazil, and the Russians took a bit step Tuesday when Alexander Samedovs wonderful ball cut up the Azerbaijan back line, leaving Roman Shirokov in alone to score the telling goal. A late goal from the hosts made the final 1-1, but was still enough to book Russias spot and to consign Portugal. Also worth noting here is that Russia will not play another World Cup qualifier until 2020. As hosts of World Cup 2018, the Russians qualify automatically. The updated list of teams that have now officially qualified: Australia