At least the future of Russia’s national team looks bright after forward Aleksandr Kokorin put his country up 1-0 against Algeria on Thursday.
The 23-year-old scored the sixth international goal of his career with a gorgeous, powerful header fired into the net in the sixth minute of play in Curitiba, Brazil.
Assisted by defender Dmitry Lombarov, the score gave Russia’s hopes of advancing to the Round of 16 new life.
That is until Algeria forward Islam Slimani came up with his second goal of the tournament in the 60th minute to tie the game.
With a draw and loss in their first two matches and a struggling attack, Russia needed to beat Algeria by two goals in order to advance as the runner-up in Group H.
Still, Korkorin could be the face of Russia’s World Cup run in 2018. In 22 appearances for Dynamo Moscow, he scored 10 goals last term, and that was before the 19 he netted from 2008 to 13 prior to a brief, appearance-less loan to Anzhi.
Algeria was also in play for first in the group, but needed a victory and a Belgium loss to move up for a date with the U.S. in the knockout stage. But it appears like Belgium will hold on to first in the group, even though they've been playing with a man down since the 44th minute after midfielder Steven Defour was issued a red card.