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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Humbles World Cup Host 1-0

A lucky early goal by Sergei Yuran gave Russia a 1-0 win over France on a chilly Wednesday evening in front of a small crowd of 5,000 at Moscow's Dynamo Stadium.

The 28-year-old striker, who plays for Bolchum in Germany's first division, came from nowhere in the third minute to steal the ball from reserve French goalkeeper Lionel Letizi and tap it into the open goal.

The opportunistic Yuran led Russia's attack Wednesday. In addition to the goal, he also barely missed a chance to put the home side up 2-0 early in the second half when his lob hit the right post.

The French, without playmaker Zinedine Zidane and their first-choice goalkeeper, Fabien Barthez, who were both out with injuries, rarely threatened a solid Russian defense.

The few chances the visitors had, such as a long-range shot by Bernard Diomede in the first half and another speculative strike by Alain Boghossiann in the second, were saved by Spartak Moscow goalkeeper Alexander Filimonov, who was playing in his first full international.

France's last chance to salvage a draw came with two minutes remaining, but Youri Djorkaeff's freekick from 20 meters out went just wide of the left post.

It seemed that the Russians, who will miss the World Cup for the first time in 20 years this summer, wanted the game more than the French, who as hosts were given an automatic place in the cup.

On Wednesday, Russia also wanted to establish a psychological edge over the French for when the teams meet again on Russian soil in the October group qualifier for the 2000 European Championship.

"I liked our character and motivation on the part of our players, who performed before Moscow's public for the first time this season," Russian coach Boris Ignagiev said.

His French counterpart, Aime Jacquet, said his team also performed well.

"Unfortunately for us, we gave up an early goal and just could not capitalize on our scoring chances," Jacquet said.

The game marked the 14th meeting between the two nations and the first since 1993 with the Russians holding the series' edge 5-3-6.