Alan Dzagoev's two goals for Russia against the Czech Republic marked him out as his team's stand-out performer in their opening Group A game – and it was no surprise he should feature at the top of the Castrol EDGE Index.
The PFC CSKA Moskva player finished joint top of the Index alongside the Czech Republic's Václav Pilař with a score of 9.51. Dzagoev, playing only his third match since recovering from a broken toe, put Russia on course for victory with the opening goal, and struck their third to foil Czech comeback hopes at 2-1.
The 21-year-old was operating on the right side of Russia's three-man attack and found the net with two of his three goal attempts. The first was an emphatic first-time finish as the ball span back off the post from Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s header, the second a powerful shot from Roman Pavlyuchenko's pass.
Pilar's shooting accuracy ratio was even more impressive, the Czech forward getting all four of his shots on target. One of those efforts hit the back of the net – his 52nd-minute goal was a well-taken effort as he latched onto Jaroslav Plašil's defence-splitting pass and coolly rounded Vyacheslav Malafeev before sliding the ball into the net. He had featured just three times in qualifying but was a constant, buzzing threat and completed all 11 of his passes in key areas of the final third.
With Dick Advocaat's charges ultimately running out comfortable victors, another Russian, midfielder Roman Shirokov, completed the top three Index scorers after scoring a fine second goal for Dick Advocaat's side.
Castrol EDGE Index: Russia v Czech Republic
1. Alan Dzagoev (RUS) 9.51
2. Václav Pilař (CZE) 9.51
3. Roman Shirokov (RUS) 9.05
4. Jaroslav Plašil (CZE) 8.75
5. Vyacheslav Malafeev (RUS) 8.64
10 – Czech Republic had ten attempts on target, three more than their four-goal opponents.
0 – No players from either side received a card in a clean encounter.
2 – The number of assists provided by Russian schemer Andrey Arshavin.
5 – Jaroslav Plašil was the undoubted playmaker for the Czech Republic, setting up five of his team's first eight shots, including their goal.
17 – Roman Pavlyuchenko scored, provided an assist and completed nine of his ten passes in only 17 minutes on the pitch.
Alan Dzagoev: "I'm very happy we won the first game. It's the first of six steps to the final. It was very hard for us at 2-1, but Roman Pavlyuchenko played a big role for us and scored a good goal."
Václav Pilař: "We gave them room to play, which was bad. We knew that Russia have good forwards and I think we could have handled them; they were simply better while holding the ball and we weren't tough enough in the individual duels."
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