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Russia good bye

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Andrei Archavin in semifinal

Semifinals are over. And now Spain will meet Germany in Sunday’s final in Austria. Spain beat Russia at the second semifinal yesterday scoring three goals to null. The final is gonna be tough and really nerve tickling as it will be Spain’s first encounter with Germany for the last 24 years.

Xavi Hernandez scores

So Russia is off the game but they deserve respect for being so wonderful against Holland. Under the guidance of Guus Hiddink they have managed to become one of the four strongest teams of the tournament this year.

Andrei Arshavin

Anyway, the final score was Russia 0 : Spain 3.

Spain beats Russia in semifinal

Spain beat Russia as comprehensively as they had done in Innsbruck 16 days ago. It wasn’t a very easy game, though I’m sure the Russian team are really disappointed with their performance as Andrei Arshavin failed to live up to his pre-match billing.

Spain vs Russia Euro 2008

As for Spain, this time it wasn’t David Villa and Fernando Torres to shine. Substitute Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas replaced the injured Villa and came on to take control of the midfield and lead his side to victory, creating two of the three goals.

Fabregas tries to score

“We were coping with Villa and Torres but when the striker went off and they added another midfielder, it gave them more mobility and we started to struggle,” said Russian coach Guus Hiddink. “They used their possession game to tire us and then their quality to strike”, he added.

Guus Hiddink and Akinfeyev

After Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez had opened the scoring in the 50th minute, substitute Daniel Guiza made it 2-0 in 73 minutes, before David Silva rounded off the evening with eight minutes remaining.

“Other players are performing just as well,” said Spanish coach Luis Aragones. “But together with the superb Andres Iniesta, Fabregas destroyed a Russian side who suddenly found themselves chasing the game after Xavi’s opening strike.”

It’s not that the Russian team was bad, it just wasn’t trying hard, as it seemed. Everything seemed to be doomed to fail. When Russia played Spain 16 days ago it was raining heavily, the same thing happened last night too.

Guiza scoring

It was a pity the team lost, really. Roman Pavlyuchenko again did well in attack and went closest to scoring for a Russian side whose first effort on target came in the 88th minute. He threatened twice, first with a curling effort that forced a fine save from Iker Casillas and then with a shot that drifted just wide.

Roman Pavlyuchenko in semifinal

Though the Spanish team was delighted with the victory there was some sad news for them too. David Villa injured himself taking a free-kick and he wouldn’t be able to face Germany Sunday, the coach confirmed. As some sources say, if only Aragones employs Fabregas from the start Spain will have the best possible chance to win.

Daniel Guiza scores

“Gary Lineker said you play Germany and the Germans always win,” said Aragones. “But we deserve to be champions.”

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June 27th, 2008
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