During World Cup play in Japan, Russia shook off a slow first half to defeat Tunisia 2-0 in Kobe, while an injury time goal cost Germany its chance to become the first team to clinch a berth in the second round, as Ireland snatched a 1-1 draw in Ibaraki.
After a cautious and scoreless first half of the Group H match, Russia took control in the second 45-minutes. Egor Titov stole a sloppy throw-out from Tunisia's keeper, and blasted it into the net in the 59th-minute.
Just four minutes later, Valery Karpin converted a penalty kick to give Russia the 2-0 lead. Tunisia tried to get back into the match, but Russia was too strong, and held on for the win, and the Group lead. Russian coach Oleg Romantsev says his team was too careful in the first half. "Because the spirits of the Tunisian team was very high, and I would say they played until the first goal," he said. "Who scores the first goal wins. That was the principle of the game."
Ireland scored a goal in injury time to salvage a 1-1 draw against Germany in Group E. Germany's Michael Ballack scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the 19th minute, and it appeared his side would be the first to qualify for the second round.
But Robbie Keane tallied for Ireland in the 92nd minute to postpone a German celebration. Irish coach Mick McCarthy says he was not surprised.
"They have won the competition three times, they have had wonderful times. But with the greatest respect to them, I thought we could cope with that. I thought we could play against them and that has been proved. So much so, we got the result that we deserved," he said.
In the day's only match played in South Korea, the United States scored three goals in the first 36 minutes, then held on to stun Portugal 3-2 in Suwon.
In Thursday's only match in Japan, Saudi Arabia challenges Cameroon in Saitama.