Artem Dzyuba and Aleksei Miranchuk stood out while Teemu Pukki endured a frustrating game as Russia ran out 1-0 winners over Finland on Wednesday.

Finland seemed to have made a blinder of a start, with Joel Pohjanpalo heading in an inch-perfect cross from Jukka Raitala, before VAR ruled the goal out as he was offside before the cross was made. However, that is as good as it got for Finland in the first half bar the odd hopeful effort, with Russia grabbing a firm stranglehold on the proceedings, albeit without much in way of the end product.

That was until the stroke of half-time, when Aleksei Miranchuk produced a top class finish to hand Russia the lead. Post the interval, Russia continued to be the more dominating of the sides, with Finland only managing a rare sight at goal.

However, no other goal was scored, as Russia eked out a narrow win to throw Group B wide open ahead of the game between Denmark and Belgium on Thursday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.

Finland

Lukas Hradecky: 6/10

The only Finland player who did not deserve to be on the losing side. Hradecky made a couple of brilliant saves to ensure Russia did not run away with the game. However, he could not have done anything to deny Aleksei Miranchuk for the winner.

Joona Toivio: 6/10

A solid effort by Toivio, whose presence at the back ensured Aleksandr Golovin could not do nearly as much damage as he can on his best day. Completed 5 clearances while winning 6 duels, with only a few nervy moments in an otherwise top-notch performance.

Paulus Arajuuri: 6/10

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Donning the armband in the absence of Tim Sparv, Arajuuri did well to keep Finland’s backline organised and disciplined for the most part. Was played around a bit by Artem Dzyuba in the build-up to Miranchuk’s goal, but that was only a minor shortcoming in his performance.

Daniel O’Shaughnessy: 6/10

A game of hits and misses for O’Shaughnessy. Interestingly, the Finland defender played a joint-game-high 3 key passes, making a great deal of impact on the ball. However, he left Miranchuk with too much space to shoot for the winner, which pulls his rating down. Solid otherwise.

Jukka Raitala: 5/10

Not as involved going forward as Jere Uronen on the left flank, Raitala was pushed a lot in the defensive phases, with the 32-year-old facing a lot of worrying moments against Daler Kuzyaev, who bypassed him in one moment before forcing a big save out of Hradecky. Has to do better next time out.

Robin Lod: 5/10

The senior midfielder in the absence of Tim Sparv, Lod needed to take more responsibility to make sure Finland did not get overpowered by Russia in the game, which is exactly what he did not do. Having said that, he saw a lot of the ball and utilised it quite well during transitions, even playing a couple of key passes. Needs to do more in the defensive stages of the game, though.

Rasmus Schuller: 5/10

Drafted into the side in place of captain Tim Sparv, whose minutes are being managed, Schuller endured a difficult outing, as he struggled to keep the Finland midfield organised enough. As a result, Russia overran their visitors in the middle of the park.

Glen Kamara: 5/10

Not the best of displays by Kamara, who could not support Schuller enough to snatch the ball away from Russia in a difficult first half. Grew into the game post the interval and did retain a superb passing rate of 92 percent, but there were occasions when he lost the ball cheaply, which gave Russia an incentive to charge forward.

Jere Uronen: 6/10

A game in which Uronen was made to work extremely hard in the face of Russia’s dominance. Put in the hard yards as well, completing 8 clearances while winning 5 duels. Saw a fair bit of the ball in the final third as well, completing 83 percent of his passes while playing a 1 key pass.

Teem Pukki: 5/10

Teemu Pukki was not quite at his best on Wednesday against Russia. (Photo by Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)

Teemu Pukki was not quite at his best on Wednesday against Russia. (Photo by Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)

Pukki, one of the players in focus in our preview, got into some dangerous scoring positions on the day but it was just was not to be for him, with Igor Diveev keeping a lid on his output superbly. Mustered up the only shot on target for Finland, and that was about it.

Joel Pohjanpalo: 5/10

Just two minutes in, Pohjanpalo produced a marvellous header only for the goal to be ruled out as he was offside. However, that was as good as it got for the Finland striker, who hardly got the required service to put the Russian defence under pressure. His paltry passing rate of 60 percent did not help much either.

SUBSTITUTES

Joni Kauko: 6/10

On for Schuller, Kauko proved to be an upgrade on the incumbent, and looked to push Finland forward in the latter stages of the game instead of sitting behin the ball. It did not really pay off in the end, but he did try his best.

Pyry Soiri: N/A

On for Raitala, Soiri saw quite a bit of the ball and recycled possession smartly, but could not do enough to inspire an equaliser.

Lassi Lappaleinen: N/A

On for Pukki, Lappaleinen hardly got a touch on the ball ahead of full-time whistle.

Fredrik Jensen: N/A

A late introduction, Jensen could not make much of an impact late on.

Russia

Matvey Safonov: 6/10

Drafted into the starting lineup in place of Anton Shunin, Safonov was hardly called into action, with Finland managing just one shot on target all game. Ended up keeping a clean sheet, which has surely earned him a place in Russia’s final group game against Denmark.

Mario Fernandes: N/A

A frustrating afternoon for Mario Fernandes, whose outing lasted just 25 minutes as he sustained a knock that forced him to be taken off. Hardly got a tough on the ball in that period.

Dmitri Barinov: 7/10

Slotting in the three-man central defensive unit, Barinov was not called into action in the defensive phases all that much. In fact, the 24-year-old took advantage of Russia’s dominance in the game by often charging deep into the Finland half, completing 66 passes in the game. Helped Russia push Finland further back in his way.

Igor Diveev: 7/10

A colossal performance by Diveev, who did extremely well to keep Teemu Pukki quiet for the most part. In particular, his two sliding tackles to deny certain goalscoring opportunities stood out. Made one big block as well while completing 5 clearances as well. Job well done.

Georgi Dzhikiya: 7/10

A solid display by Dzhikiya, who was as dependable as ever at the back for Russia, negating the influence of Joel Pohjanpalo almost entirely. Won each of the four ground duels he contested, which shows just how dominant he was at the back. Stanislav Cherchesov would have heaved a huge sigh of relief when he came back to his feet after sustaining a minor knock.

Daler Kuzyaev: 7/10

A constant presence in the final third for Russia, Kuzyaev saw a lot of the ball and sent in several inviting crosses in to the Finland box. Played a key pass all while retaining a healthy passing rate of 88 percent. Solid effort.

Roman Zobnin: 7/10

Stationed in the middle of the park alongside Magomed Ozdoev, Zobnin worked his socks off to keep Finland away from Safonov. The numbers are a testament to that, with the player completing 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 block in addition to winning 7 duels. Did not lose the ball cheaply either, which meant Russia remained dominant.

Magomed Ozdoev: 7/10

A solid display by Ozdoev, who succeeded in his constant endeavour to push Russia deep into the final third. Completed 88 percent of his attempted passes while even setting up a half-chance. Worked hard off the ball as well, completing a number of clearances, tackles and interceptions.

Aleksei Miranchuk: 8/10

A bundle of energy, Miranchuk was the most potent outlet for Russia in the game, playing game-high 3 key passes. The most notable moment in the game, though, was when he handed Russia the lead at the stroke of half-time with a peach of a finish that Lukas Hradecky had no reply for. Will not look to push on from here.

Artem Dzyuba: 8/10

In what was a superb performance by Dzyuba, he came within inches of scoring early on, only to be denied by the upright. The Russia captain, though, made his mark on the game when a give-and-go with Miranchuk set up the opener. Later on in the game, he was denied by a fabulous save by the outstretched Hradecky. Did not find the back of the net but still did a fine job for his side.

Aleksandr Golovin: 6.5/10

Golovin might not have been as involved in the proceedings as his teammates out in the front, but he did still carry a great deal of threat in the final third, as illustrated by the 2 key passes he played. Came close to scoring once as well, only missing the near post by a hair.

SUBSTITUTES

Vyacheslav Karavaev: 6/10

On for Mario Fernandes, Karavaev was a constant outlet down the right flank for Russia, even playing a key pass in the game. A bit wasteful at times, but played his part to ensure the hosts remained dominant in the game.

Rifat Zhemaletdinov: 6/10

On for Ozdoev, Zhemaletdinov nearly scored moments after coming on, missing the target by a whisker. Did so once again in the dying stages of the game and could well have found the target on another day.

Aleksandr Sobolev: N/A

On for Dzyuba, Sobolev did not have much time to make an impact.

Maksim Mukhin: N/A

A late introduction in place of Mirancuhuk, Mukhin did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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