Russia will head into the final international date in control of their own World Cup qualification destiny after they won their game in hand over Israel, 3-1, on Tuesday. They now sit one point ahead of Portugal, who will have to qualify for a major tournament through a playoff yet again if the Russians don't slip up in October.
Israel did well to hold on to a clean sheet in the first half, but quickly fell apart early in the second. Central defender Vasili Berezutsky netted the Russian opener in the 49th minute with a bit of an uncharacteristic poacher's effort. Israel failed to clear their lines during a fairly routine attack and Berezutsky, up from defense, capitalized with a low shot from the center of the penalty area.
Alexander Kokorin all but sealed the win for Russia with a stunning goal just three minutes later, beating Dudu Aouate from more than 25 yards with an absolute missile of a strike. Substitute Denis Glushakov added another in the 74th minute, finishing after Aouate saved a penalty by Roman Shirokov.
Eran Zehavi scored late after Russia had switched off, but it was a mere consolation goal.
Russia: Akinfeev, Ignashevich, V. Berezutsky, Kozlov, Kombarov, Denisov (Glushakov 45'), Shirokov, Faizulin (Dzagoev 45'), Kokorin (Bystrov 77'), Kerzhakov, Samedov
Goals: Berezutsky (49'), Kokorin (52'), Glushakov (74')
Israel: Aouate, Ben Haim, Keinan, Yeini, Davidadza, Alberman (Radi 71'), Melikson (Ezra 45'), Natcho, Rafaelov, Barda (Shechter 65'), Zehavi
Goals: Zehavi (90')