Alexander Kerzhakov rescued Russia in their first World Cup finals match since 2002 scoring two minutes after coming on as a substitute to salvage a 1-1 draw against South Korea in Group H second match last evening.
Kerzhakov was brought on in the 72nd minute after Lee Keun-Ho put South Korea ahead with a 30-metre shot that Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev disastrously parried over his head into the net.
The result left both countries trailing Belgium who head the Group H table after beating Algeria 2-1 earlier.
Algeria scored their first World Cup goal in 28 years to take a surprise first-half lead against the Group H favourites when playmaker Sofiane Feghouli fired home from the penalty spot.
But their resilience withered in the second half and they let the Europeans take control with Marouane Fellaini scoring a superb header on 70 minutes and Dries Mertens drilling home the winner 10 minutes from time.
Algerian coach Vahid Halilhodzic accused Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez of missing a foul from Kevin De Bruyne on Feghouli prior to Belgium`s second and winning goal.
Meanwhile Mexico`s inspired keeper Guillermo Ochoa ended Brazil`s 10-game winning streak but while home fans were frustrated at the lack of goals manager Luiz Felipe Scolari says his side are improving with each match.
“In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, the team played at least 10 percent better than we played against Croatia,” Scolari told reporters after yesterday’s 0-0 draw in Brazil`s second Group A game.
Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 in the tournament`s opening match last Thursday. Mexico, too, won their first game against Cameroon a day later .
“They had a very good goalkeeper who had a very good day and that`s why we didn`t win,” Scolari said.
Mexico stopper Ochoa was in outstanding form, making several brilliant saves that won him the man-of-the-match award.