Oleg Shatov's early opener was wiped out by a header from Anders Konradssen as Russia drew 1-1 with Norway.
Fabio Capello opted to start with a 4-4-2 formation instead of his traditional 4-5-1 in search of a more incisive attacking performance, and the visitors benefitted when they broke the deadlock in the third minute. Aleksei Ionov crossed the ball to Shatov, whose initial effort was blocked by a defender but with his second attempt the FC Zenit midfielder sent the ball past goalkeeper Rune Jarstein.
Norway were taken aback by that early blow and did not call Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev into action until midway through the first half, when he was forced to deny Håvard Nielsen's free-kick. Soon after that, Denis Glushakov rose highest but his header was tipped over by Jarstein.
Norway grew into the game but could not find a way past Akinfeev until 13 minutes from time, when Konradssen headed in. Capello had handed a senior international debut to 25-year-old defender Andrei Semenov.
Capello's charges will face Algeria, Belgium and Korea Republic in FIFA World Cup Group H.