Alexander Kokorin's headed goal gave Russia a 1-0 lead over Algeria at halftime in their World Cup Group H match on Thursday.

Russia was dominant in the first half with its intricate and swift passing movements through midfield, causing particular problems to the right side of the Algeria defense.

It was from there that Russia engineered its goal in the 6th minute when Dmitry Kombarov whipped in a left-foot cross that was powerfully headed in by Kokorin.

Algeria came closest to equalizing in the 43rd but Islam Slimani's header from the corner went straight to Russia goalkeepr Igor Akinfeev.

Russia can only progress to the knockout rounds with a win. A draw could be enough for Algeria to advance from a group that also includes Belgium and South Korea.