as unbelievable, incredible. The scouts are only unanimo

21 Czerwiec, 2018 - 05:15

CUIABA, Brazil -- Blundering Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was bailed out by teammate Alexander Kerzhakov in a 1-1 draw with South Korea in the World Cup on Tuesday that exposed both teams deficiencies. Akinfeev had already looked suspect in dealing with long-range shots before spilling Lee Keun-hos speculative effort into his own net in the 68th minute, gifting South Korea the lead at the Arena Pantanal. Kerzhakov, though, came to Akinfeevs rescue by turning in a shot from close range six minutes later -- just three minutes after coming on as a substitute -- to earn Russia a point from a poor-quality Group H match. Akinfeev stayed on the ground inside his own net, head in his hands, after making his error, clearly embarrassed after dropping what was a routine save from a shot from about 30 yards. He was consoled by a couple of teammates, who patted him on the back. "It was a kids mistake," Afinkeev said. "The goalkeeper of the national team shouldnt make mistakes like this one." Russia coach Fabio Capello has remained loyal to Akinfeev this season despite some patchy form, and stood by him again. "He is a great goalkeeper," Capello said. "There can be mistakes, of course -- some can get a penalty wrong ... and its logical for a goalkeeper to make a mistake as well. "We were able to make up for that and we can accept a mistake by a great keeper like Akinfeev." The explosive six-minute spell that featured both goals was not in keeping with the rest of a fairly mundane game characterized by slow build-up play, poor passing and wayward finishing. A point leaves both teams behind Belgium, which beat Algeria 2-1 earlier Tuesday, but the group appears wide open based on the opening two fixtures. Having lost four of its last five games heading to Brazil, the South Koreans came into their eighth straight World Cup with concerns over their flimsy defence and a lack of goal threat. A 4-0 thrashing by Ghana in a warm-up in Miami last week highlighted those worrying deficiencies perfectly. There was no hiding their toothless attack here, either, with the experienced Park Chu-young starting as the lone striker but justifying fears that he has lost his way after three ineffective years with Arsenal in the English Premier League. He was substituted in the 56th and his replacement, Lee, scored South Koreas goal. Russia, led by former England coach Fabio Capello, was just as lifeless in attack -- at least until Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev came off the bench -- and too functional in midfield. A dire first half was marked by the large contingent of Brazilian fans in the crowd doing slow hand clapping but South Korea coach Hong Myung-bo was satisfied by what he saw. "In such a tournament, the first match is the most difficult," Hong, who captained the nation to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup, said through a translator. "There is a lot of pressure on it so I thought the players played very well." Save for a shot by Son Heung-min that flew over the bar in the 39th when the forward was free at the edge of the area, there was barely a chance created in the first half. Capello stood with his hands on his hips in the technical area throughout the first 45 minutes, looking distinctly unimpressed. There was a major improvement after the break, although it required the mistake by Akinfeev to really get the game going. However, South Korea couldnt hold on and when Dzagoevs cross-shot was spilled out by goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong and defender Hwang Seok-hos clearance went straight at Andrei Yeshchenko, Kerzhakov was on hand to bundle home from inside the six-yard box. "I thanked them for their reaction," said Capello, who turns 68 on Wednesday. "It was the greatest birthday present I could receive." 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But - and youre going to have to trust me on this - its not. At least not if the subject is who will go No. 1 overall in the 2015 NHL Draft: Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. And yet when TSN surveyed 10 NHL team head scouts in the first week of September and asked them who they would take first overall - McDavid or Eichel - if the draft were being held that day, seven of the 10 opted for the dynamic Canadian centre of the Erie Otters over the physically-dominant American centre of the Boston University Terriers. It is, however, far closer than the numbers would suggest. I go back and forth every week between the two, said one NHL head scout who chose McDavid. When I saw McDavid dominate the U-18 as a double underager, I didnt think anyone would ever touch him. Then I saw Eichel outplay McDavid at last years World Junior Championship and I realized not only is it a two-horse race but Eichel may be in the lead. I cant tell you how many times since then Ive cchanged my mind.dddddddddddd Its that close. Another scout echoed those sentiments. I saw Eichel dominate at the U.S. national junior camp in Lake Placid this summer and I was convinced he had passed McDavid, the scout said. Then I got to Montreal to see McDavid play in the Canadian national junior camp and he was unbelievable, incredible. The scouts are only unanimous on two things, maybe three. One - both McDavid and Eichel project as bona fide franchise players, A++ prospects who will be No. 1 NHL centres. Two - for all this talk in September of whos No. 1, its going to be determined on the ice and everyone is anticipating a head-to-head showdown between the Canadian and the American and their respective national junior teams on New Years Eve in Montreal at the 2015 World Junior Championship. 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