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2018 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • Alessandro Schöpf (28')

Russia's World Cup warm-up struggles continue in loss to Austria

World Cup hosts Russia slumped to a 1-0 defeat in a friendly against Austria on Wednesday, extending their winless streak to six matches.

Russia have lost all three games in 2018 after defeats to Brazil and France in March and have not won a game since beating South Korea in October.

With Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho watching from the stands, Marko Arnautovic set up midfielder Alessandro Schopf for the only goal in the 28th minute, giving coach Franco Foda his fourth win from four matches since taking over from Marcel Koller in November after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

"We have to improve our passing," Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov told Austrian broadcaster ORF. "We created one, two chances to score but we have to do more."

The match, Russia's first abroad since beating Hungary 3-0 in Budapest a year ago, marked the end of the team's 10-day training camp in the Austrian region of Stubaital.

Russia play Turkey in Moscow on Tuesday in their final warm-up game before opening the World Cup against Saudi Arabia on June 14. They also play Egypt and Uruguay in Group A.

Russia started with high pressing but gradually lost control of the match after 15 minutes. Most of their attacks lacked pace and accuracy, while the defense looked vulnerable.

Leading up to the goal, Vladimir Granat and Fyodor Kudryashov gave Arnautovic time to control the ball and set up Schopf, who was not marked closely enough by Mario Fernandes and beat goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev with a powerful shot just under the crossbar.

Akinfeev denied Austria a second goal when he pushed Arnautovic's free kick wide just before half-time.

Russia's best chance came shortly before the hour mark, but Fyodor Smolov sent his effort just wide.

"We didn't give away much in defense and our forward play was effective. It was a deserved victory," Schopf said.

Austria, who also beat Russia 1-0 twice in qualification for the 2016 European Championship, will host world champions Germany in Klagenfurt on Saturday and Brazil in Vienna next Sunday.

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