Russia fought back to salvage a 1-1 draw against Korea Republic in their opening Group H match at the Arena Pantanal on Tuesday evening.
Lee Keunho thought he had wrapped up the win with his goal midway through the second 45 for Korea, but a strike from Aleksandr Kerzhakov meant the spoils were shared.
Fabio Capello’s side arrived into the encounter having stretched their undefeated run to ten matches and they were out to further extend their record.
But they took a rather cautious approach to the start of the encounter and it resulted in Korea enjoying the better part of the possession in the opening quarter of an hour.
It took forever for a team to produce an effort at goal, with the first arriving before the half hour. A decent delivery from a set-piece was delivered into the box and it saw Andrey Eshchenko's effort blocked before Alexander Kokorin's follow-up missed the target.
Minutes later Russia threatened again off a free-kick and this time it saw Sergey Ignashevich smash a free-kick from distance, only to have Jung Sungryong push it away from danger.
Korea did well to burst into the box five minutes from the interval with an unstoppable run. Park Chuyoung nodded down to his strike partner and allowed for H M Son smash a wild ball that flew high over the bar.
The Koreans broke the deadlock with 68 minutes on the clock and it was from the substitute. Lee Keunho hit a rather hopeful effort from around 25 yards out and the ball slips through the Russian goalkeeper’s hands to make it 1-0.
That effort sparked Russia into life and they found themselves level pegging at 1-1 six minutes later.
Dzagoev had his initial shot parried, and it fell at the feet of Aleksandr Kerzhakov for his 26th goal for Russia.
The result means both teams will go equal in second place with a point each, while Belgium’s 2-1 victory over Algeria means the Africans sit bottom.