While Fabio Capello was "happy" to have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as Group F winners ahead of Portugal, the prevailing mood among his Russia players after the 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan was far from celebratory. In the ascendancy against ten men as the game entered the 90th minute, Russia were denied victory by Vagif Javadov's header, leading Roman Shirokov to rue a "lack of concentration" and Aleksandr Kerzhakov to express disappointment at the concession of another late goal.
Fabio Capello, Russia coach
We could've scored more after taking the lead, but sometimes the goalkeeper denied us or we were unlucky. Azerbaijan only created one opportunity and made the most of it. I can't say we underestimated our opponents or were too relaxed. Overall, I'm satisfied with this qualifying campaign. I'm happy we finished ahead of Portugal at the top of our group; it was a difficult campaign.
Vasili Berezutski, Russia defender
We created a number of chances but could not convert them, while they scored from their only opportunity. Azerbaijan were so happy with the draw you'd have thought they are going to the World Cup finals, not us. We have achieved what has been our aim for two years, therefore the emotions are overwhelming. Now we can focus on preparations for the finals.
Roman Shirokov, Russia captain and goalscorer
The goal we conceded was the result of a lack of concentration. The bad thing is that our coaches told us about it, but we didn't seem to pay full attention. They played with ten men [after the 73rd-minute dismissal of Maksim Medvedev] and though we had the possession, we still conceded. It is a shame. The ball went into our box and we could not cope with the player [Javadov] who had the attempt. It is a team mistake, that is why nobody is really happy. Qualifying for the World Cup is no excuse for throwing away victory in such a game.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Russia forward
It is very disappointing to let the win slip away. Fabio Capello had some hard words in the changing room afterwards and he had every reason to be angry. We have shipped last-minute goals in three of four recent matches – it is totally unacceptable. Moreover, we wasted some really good opportunities during the game.
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