By RYAN TOLMICH
From the time they first learned how to kick a ball, every soccer player in the world dreams of stepping up on the game’s biggest stage: the World Cup. However, let Tuesday night’s matchup between Russia and South Korea serve as a reminder that, sometimes, even world class players can see their big stage dreams rapidly turn into a worldwide nightmare.
Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saw his worst fears become a reality in the 68th minute of Russia’s 1-1 draw with South Korea when the 28-year-old goalkeeper let the ball, as well as a possible three points, slip right through his fingertips.
After fumbling the ball numerous times throughout the game, South Korea finally made the Russians pay for their lackluster goalkeeping via a long-distance effort from Lee Keun-ho. The 29-year-old South Korean forward’s shot from outside the box appeared to be leading to a run of the mill save, but Akinfeev failed to collect the ball, as it slipped right through his hands and into the back of the net to give the South Koreans a 1-0 lead.
However, Russia fought their way through the mistake, as forward Alexandr Kerzhakov bailed out his countryman by equalizing on a mad scramble in the 74th minute, just three minutes after being sent into the game by Russia manager Fabio Capello.
Both sides pick up a point in Group H, where they now trail leaders Belgium, who beat Algeria 2-1 earlier Tuesday.