72nd Minute, Oleg Salenko, Russia v Cameroon, 1994 World Cup Group Stage
This was the first time Russia competed in a World Cup as a non-communist country. During the breakup of the Soviet Union they played as CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) in Euro ’92 and that same year the USSR fully dissolved into 15 post-Soviet states. Despite this Russia still went to the 1994 World Cup with players born in present-day Ukraine and Estonia. Others like Oleg Salenko had Ukrainian roots but continued to play for Russia. Russia had a tough start against Brazil and fell to the brilliance of Romario and then faced a Sweden side destined for the semi-finals. Their final match against Cameroon was a bit of a nothing match with both teams eliminated however it turned out to be a game that produced two World Cup records.
Salenko gets his fourth goal of the match and he added a fifth three minutes later to become the only player to score five goals in a FIFA World Cup finals match. He achieved this feat on the same day Roger Milla became the oldest goalscorer in the World Cup. See all the goals here…
What Happened Next?
Both sides crashed out of the World Cup but Salenko’s goals were enough to share the Golden Boot with Stoichkov. Salenko’s career faded and he never appeared for the Russian national team again. Russia didn’t qualify for the 1998 World Cup but they did appear in Korea/Japan 2002 and have qualified for Brazil 2014. The largest country in the world will be the host of the 2018 World Cup.