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2004 World Cup: Russians Warm Up for Another Visit to the USA

By September 5, 2004

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The Russians look ready for the quarterfinals. The Slovaks look ready to go home.

Recovering from a loss to Canada the night before, Russia picked apart a weak Slovakian defense and picked up an easy 5-2 win on Sunday, concluding the preliminary round of the 2004 World Cup.

The Russian team finishes with two wins and one loss, and travels to St. Paul, Minnesota, to play Team USA in Tuesday's quarterfinal game. Russia defeated the U.S. 3-1 on Thursday.

Alexei Yashin, Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Kovalev, Sergei Samsonov and Alexander Ovechkin scored for Russia while Marian Gaborik and Marian Hossa had the Slovakian goals.

The Russians, who have scored the most attractive goals in the tournament, put together a couple more highlight-rell plays on Sunday. Ovechkin, the top pick in June's NHL entry draft, was impressive on several shifts and picked up his goal on a perfect backhand to the roof of the net, over Slovak goalie Jan Lasak.

Defenseman Zdeno Chara played close to half of the game for Slovakia, and with good reason. None of the other Slovak defensemen appeared capable of stopping the Russian attack.

Winless in three games, The Slovaks have drawn Canada as a quarterfinal opponent, and will have to engineer a stunning turnaround in their fortunes to have any chance in that game on Wednesday.

Monday's Game:
1:00 pm ET: Germany at Finland (quarterfinal game one), Helsinki

Complete World Cup Resources: The schedule, the format, the rosters, the prediction, and more.

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