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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Injuries mar Russian win
Russian coach Oleg Romantsev
Oleg Romantsev (centre) has injury worries
Russia boosted their World Cup preparations with a comfortable 3-0 victory over an under-strength Shimizu S-Pulse side in Japan on Thursday.

But there was some worrying injury news for Russian coach Oleg Romantsev as he fine-tuned his squad for their opening Group H game against Tunisia on Wednesday.

Injured playmaker Alexander Mostovoi was left out as doubts persist over the likelihood of the experienced Celta Vigo midfielder, who has a hamstring injury, being fit to face the Tunisians.

Bordeaux midfielder Alexei Smertin was also left out because of a minor rib injury.

And defender Vyacheslav Dayev may be forced to quit the World Cup after failing to shake off an injury.

The Russians will wait until 4 June to decide whether to fly Dayev home and bring in a replacement defender.

Romantsev's side looked sluggish and vulnerable in defence before eventually outclassing their J-League opponents in front of a noisy 20,000 sell-out crowd.

Young forward Ruslan Pimenov enhanced his claims for a World Cup starting place with his first goal in a Russian shirt, heading in the opening goal after 10 minutes.

First-choice striker Vladimir Beschastnykh, in contrast, struggled to impress and was replaced at half-time.

Goals by central midfielder Yegor Titov and Dmitry Khokhlov sealed victory, while other plus points for Romantsev were the lively displays of teenager Marat Izmailov and Valery Karpin in midfield.

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GROUP H
  P GD PTS
JAPAN 3 +3 7
BELGIUM 3 +1 5
RUSSIA 3 0 3
TUNISIA 3 -4 1

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