Russia on the brink of finals
Only Andorra stand between Russia and a ticket to the party next door in Poland and Ukraine next summer after Dick Advocaat's team ground out a 1-0 victory in Zilina.

Providing there is not a huge shock in Moscow next Tuesday, Russia will be heading to the Euro 2012 finals.

They had Alan Dzagoev to thank for Friday night's success, as he broke the deadlock after 70 minutes to send Russia to the top of qualifying Group B with one game remaining.

Andorra should pose no threat to Russia, and three points will guarantee Advocaat's team win the group and avoid a play-off.

Armenia and Republic of Ireland, the teams hoping for a monumental upset on Tuesday, will expect to be jousting for second place when they clash in Dublin.

After this home defeat, Slovakia can forget about qualification.

Russia were worthy winners in the end, after having the bulk of the chances.

Andrey Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko, the Arsenal and Tottenham forwards, led the attack and both saw early shots gathered by home goalkeeper Jan Mucha.

Slovakia threatened in the 11th minute when Juraj Kucka's 20-yard attempt was tipped wide by Viacheslav Malafeev.

Arshavin tested Mucha again, before Roman Shirokov put a close-range effort wide and saw another shot turned behind by the busy Slovakia goalkeeper.

Mucha dived to keep out another shot from Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko headed over the bar.

The chances kept coming in the first half, with Miroslav Stoch and Marek Hamsik providing the Slovakian menace and Dzagoev and Pavlyuchenko the men to miss for Russia.

Slovakia went close early in the second half, with Erik Jendrisek having an 18-yard shot palmed away by Malafeev.

Arshavin's next attempt demanded a fingertip save from Mucha, and Russia's goal finally arrived when Dzagoev drilled the ball left-footed into the roof of the net.

Russia went looking for a second goal which might have arrived five minutes later, but Pavlyuchenko rifled over the bar after winning a free-kick 25 yards from goal.

Slovakia had a late chance to pinch a point, deep into stoppage time, but Jendrisek pulled his left-footed shot wide from 20 yards.
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