Russia vs Spain
Thursday, 26th June at 20.45
Russia and Spain meet again; this time for the
right to play Germany in the Euro 2008 Final.
It's a wet night in Vienna and very humid.
The first five to six minutes saw Spain on the attack; Igor Akinfeev -
the youngest player on the pitch - making a fine save from Fernando Torres.
The next few minutes belonged to Russia; as both teams showed they
intended to go forward and try to win the game - rather than play an Italian style of
trying not to lose.
Despite the attacking play by both teams and the continued rain making
a slippery surface, there were still no goals in the first half an hour of play. No yellow
cards either, although the Belgian referee did have a word with a few players to calm them
David Villa, the tournament's leading goalscorer, seemed to have
pulled something when he took a free-kick and was replaced by Cesc Fàbregas in the 34th
The introduction of Fàbregas gave Spain a bit of a buzz but the
Russians still looked good for a goal; even though Andrei Arshavin seemed a little
subdued. Yuri Zhirkov continued to do most of the running from his left-back position;
getting the better of Sergio Ramos on a number of occasions.
Despite the lack of goals, in an even first forty-five minutes, it's
been an acceptible game. But we will need some leather hitting the net when the players
Half-time - 0:0
Five minutes into the second-half and the Spanish fans could roar,
after Andrés Iniesta set the ball in motion; jinxing in from the left and spotting a
mustard shirt in the middle of the red ones. The ball was perfectly weighted and Xavi
Hernández stuck out his foot to poke the ball past Igor Akinfeev.
Spain could now feel a little more confident and continued to press
for a second.
The sustained Spanish pressure became too much for Russia as Daniel
Güiza, on for Fernando Torres, took a Fabregas pass on his chest and coolly flicked it to
the right of the diving Akinfeev.
David Silva fired in Spain's third, with less than ten minutes to go,
after Iniesta had sent Fabregas away on the left. The Arsenal midfielder took a quick look
up and provided the ammunition once again. He must surely get a start in the final.
Dmitri Sychev almost stole a consolation header, but Casillas was
equal to it.
So it's Spain who join Germany in the Euro 2008 Final.
Russia 0 - Spain 3
0:1 Xavi Hernández (50)
0:2 Daniel Güiza (73)
0:3 David Silva (82)
1 Igor Akinfeev; 18 Yuri Zhirkov, 4 Sergei Ignashevich, 2 Vasili Berezutski, 22 Aleksandr
Anyukov; 9 Ivan Saenko, 11 Sergei Semak, 20 Igor Semshov, 17 Konstantin Zyrianov; 10
Andrei Arshavin, 19 Roman Pavlyuchenko.
1 Iker Casillas; 11 Joan Capdevila, 5 Carles Puyol, 4 Carlos Marchena, 15 Sergio Ramos; 21
David Silva, 8 Xavi Hernández, 19 Marcos Senna, 6 Andrés Iniesta; 9 Fernando Torres, 7
Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium)
34 Mins - 10 Cesc Fàbregas on for 7 David Villa
56 Mins - Diniyar Bilyaletdinov on for 20 Igor Semshov
57 Mins - 21 Dmitri Sychev on for 9 Ivan Saenko
69 Mins - 14 Xabi Alonso on for 8 Xavi Hernández
69 Mins - 17 Daniel Güiza on for 9 Fernando Torres
2 Yellow Cards:
56 Mins - Yuri Zhirkov (Russia)
60 Mins - Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Russia)
Onto the Euro 2008 Final.