Russia Secures Place at 2014 World Cup

Alexander Samedov congratulates Roman Shirokov on his goal in Tuesday's match. Konstantin Rybin

The Russian men's national football team will take part in a World Cup for the first time in 12 years after topping its qualification group for next year's tournament in Brazil.

Though the team only tied 1-1 in its final qualifying match against Azerbaijan in Baku on Tuesday, the result was enough to keep them ahead of Portugal, who finished in second place in Russia's group in after beating Luxembourg 3-0 and will enter a playoff for one of the final European berths.

After being lauded for reaching the semifinals at the 2008 European Championships, the Russian national team fell on hard times, failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup or advance beyond the group stages at Euro 2012.

Led by its Italian manager Fabio Capello, the team will hope to improve on its performance at the 2002 World Cup, when it won one game against Tunisia and lost to relative light-weights Belgium and co-host Japan.

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