Alexander Kerzhakov support Igor Akinfeev for mistake
The Russia forward rescued a point for Fabio Capello's side in their first game but urged people to avoid dwelling on his teammate's goalkeeping blunder
Alexander Kerzhakov stressed that the focus of Russia's 1-1 draw with South Korea should be the result, not Igor Akinfeev's mistake.
Fabio Capello's men fell behind to a long-range effort from Lee Keun-ho, which was inexplicably scooped into his own net by the Russian keeper, but the Taeguk Warriors were denied a win by Kerzhakov's 74th minute strike.
Akinfeev, who spilled numerous shots throughout the second half, was under obvious scrutiny after his glaring error but Kerzhakov refused to be drawn on his teammate's display.
"I don't understand why it's necessary to focus on individuals," the 31-year-old was as saying quoted by SportExpress.ru.
"We got a draw, that's not a bad result. There was some nervousness - it was a big day, so everyone knew it could cause mistakes. Plus we were getting used to the weather - it was very hot!"
Russia have not featured in a World Cup for 12 years and Kerzhakov, who now has 26 goals in 82 appearances for his national side, admitted they felt the weight of expectation – particularly with Russia set to host the tournament in four years time.
"I was not nervous,” the Zenit St Petersburg forward added.
"I was engrossed in the game, even when I was on the bench. This is the World Cup, you are playing for your country. You cannot relax for a second."
Russia will face Belgium on June 22 and Algeria on June 26 to complete their Group G games.
Russia 1-1 South Korea
Zenit Saint Petersburg
Rest of Europe
World Cup 2014