Sunday, June 28, 2015

28 June 1994 - This Is What Happens When You Play A 42-Year Old In The World Cup

On 28 June 1994, Russia rolled over Cameroon 6-1 in their last group stage match of that year's World Cup, with forward Oleg Salenko (pictured) providing five of those goals to set a World Cup scoring record.

Russia started the day out of contention for the knockout rounds, having lost to both Brazil and Sweden. Cameroon had drawn with Sweden and still had a chance to overtake them for the group's second place, but needed both a win over Russia and a Sweden loss to Brazil in the group's final match. The Russians quickly made the Indomitable Lions' challenge more difficult when Salenko scored his first goal of the day in the 15th minute.

On the attack soon after, Cameroon nearly equalized when François Omam-Bitik's curling shot hit the bar, but were undone when the Russians quickly restarted after a 41st-minute free-kick, leading to a three-on-one situation and another Salenko goal. Three minutes later, the referee awarded the Russians a dubious penalty after an apparent dive and Salenko converted it to secure his first-half hat-trick.

The lone bright spot for Cameroon was the second-half introduction of forward Roger Milla, who came on in the 45th minute and scored one minute later. At 42 years old, he remains the World Cup's oldest scorer.

Salenko scored twice more in the second half (72', 75'), and had a hand in another goal, scored by Dmitri Radchenko in the 81st minute to complete the 6-1 rout. Despite Salenko's brilliant performance, it was the last of his eight appearances for the Russian national team as injuries ended his career shortly afterward.

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