BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Russia qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 12 years by drawing 1-1 with 10-man Azerbaijan on Tuesday.
Russia finished on top of Group F with 22 points, one point ahead of second-place Portugal which beat 10-man Luxembourg 3-0 and will go into next month's European playoffs for a berth in Brazil.
The Russians last qualified for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002, but under coach Fabio Capello they quickly secured the group's top spot and held it as Portugal once again came up short.
"Russia was the best team. They were better than us," Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. "We needed to demonstrate better quality if we wanted the top spot."
In Baku, Roman Shirokov gave Russia the lead in the 16th minute from a cutting pass from Alexander Samedov. Vagif Javadov headed in the equalizer in the 90th.
Azerbaijan was reduced to 10 men in the 73rd when Maksim Medvedev was given a red card for a rough tackle.
"I'm satisfied with this qualifying campaign," Russia coach Fabio Capello said. "With such a strong opponent as Portugal in our group, we grabbed the top place."
Capello still had some concerns, saying it was the third time that Russia conceded a goal in the last minute.
"We should look ahead and improve our game," he said.
Portugal also had to go through the playoffs to qualify for its last two major tournaments, the 2012 European Championship and 2010 World Cup. It was a semifinalist at Euro 2012.