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Greece 0-2 Sweden



UEFA EURO 2008 GROUP D
Spain 4-1 Russia Match report Greece 0-2 Sweden Match report

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

606: DEBATE
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)
By Jonathan Stevenson

2200: Don't forget to check out Euro 2008 highlights on BBC One at 2335 BST. I'll see you tomorrow for Czech Republic v Portugal and Switzerland v Turkey. It's time for seconds.

2158: Time for the second one and you don't have to have a degree in rocket science to know what I'm going to pick as the Champagne Moment from the Greece v Sweden game. With over an hour gone and football losing badly, the maverick Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to the Euro 2008 party with a vengance, hitting a screaming drive into the top corner of the Greece net from 25 yards. The game didn't deserve it, but how badly it needed it. Stunning.

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Ibrahimovic plays a one-two with Larsson and scores a screamer

2151: So all I need to do now is give you my two Champagne Moments for the day. Now the first one, for Spain 4-1 Russia, is a little more difficult. Spain produced some fantastic football and scored some wonderful goals and David Villa struck a brilliant hat-trick. But my moment belongs to Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, who produced a pass most footballers can only dream of playing for Villa to latch on to and score his and Spain's second. It was just beautiful.

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Iniesta slips in Villa and Spain go 2-0 up

2146: "Normally when you play Sweden they are a very high tempo team, but they seem to have lost that judging by tonight. They won it on quality, but there wasn't a lot to worry the others."
BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Steve McClaren

2145: "Thank the good lord that is over - lets hope Switzerland v Turkey is better tomorrow night!! At least they have incentive to go for it."
andyj247 on 606
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2141: Well I'm relieved. I mean that performance from Greece was one of the most negative I have ever seen and although it worked for a long time in Salzburg, thank goodness Zlatan Ibrahimovic produced a moment of pure genius to break the deadlock. He is closing in on his striker partner Henrik Larsson in Player Rater, with Larsson currently leading on 7.09.
Rate the players

2135: FULL-TIME Greece 0-2 Sweden

2133: Greece have just started playing some football. We're into injury time.

2130: Vassilis Torosidis creeps into the Swedish box down the left and fires in a shot that Andreas Isaksson saves with his legs.

2129: "The Greek players are down with cramp now. So they waste time even when they are losing. Old habits die hard it seems."
Driver8 on 606
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2125: Henrik Larsson curls a free-kick miles wide from 22 yards, but who cares?

2123: "I hope Sweden just keep the ball in their own half, pass it around and waste time, giving Greece a taste of their own medicine. But then again I'm not watching the match."
Shay, via text

I'm watching it and I wouldn't mind that happening. It would be what Greece deserve - but they're not getting anything from this one I promise you that and it's great news for the tournament and football in general.

2122: "Sums up Zlatan's all round game this performance by him. He can spend large periods completely detached from the match but then, out of nowhere, produces a moment of sublime class just to show people who's boss. Infuriatingly brilliant player!"
Kebabarinhoo on 606
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2117: Christian Wilhelmsson's tournament could be over, he stumbles off the pitch and it looks like he may have pulled a hamstring.

2117: Niclas Alexandersson is taken off and Frederik Stoor comes on for Sweden.

2114: GOAL Greece 0-2 Sweden
Well I wasn't expecting that. Petter Hansson somehow bundles the ball in from about a yard despite looking more like falling over his own feet, after Freddie Ljungberg's shot had been saved and Sweden had returned the ball back into the six-yard box. Woeful goal, terrible keeping, game over, justice done.

2113: Thank you thank you thank you Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He is taken off to a standing ovation from the Swedish fans and Johan Elmander comes on. We may never be able to thank you enough.

2112: "What on earth is THAT goal doing in THIS match?"
nowthennathan on 606
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2109: GOAL Greece 0-1 Sweden
You little beauty. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores an absolute cracker. He latches on to a Henrik Larsson flick on the right-hand edge of the Greece penalty area and absolutely mullers a half-volley past Antonis Nikopolidis' despairing dive and into the far top corner. You do not hit a football like that very often, I don't care who you are.

2108: Petter Hansson almost scores the first own goal of the tournament, glancing a Traianos Dellas cross from the right agonisingly close to the far post, but it flashes away for a corner and Sweden clean their lines.

2105: Giorgios Karagounis breaks clear after a defensive mistake but Sweden recover sufficiently to block his two shots - one attempted chip and one drive. Costas Katsouranis is furious that he didn't pass. If Greece take the lead I'm going home.

2104: Vassilis Torosidis is cautioned for a foul on Christian Wilhelmsson. As soon as Sweden threaten to break, someone takes one for the team.

2102:BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Steve McClaren is suffering as we all are: "You can't take anything out of this game so far," says the ex-England manager. His thoughts have attracted a fair bit of comment from you lot so far - I'm guessing there's not much sympathy for him, even though he's having to watch the worst game of all time?!

2058: "So Stevo, how does this compare to the France-Romania game? More bored now, or then?"
absonred89 on 606
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Well mate, yesterday I wanted the game to end. Now I just want my life to end. That's the difference.

2055: Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempts to wake up half the crowd in Salzburg with a 35-yard free-kick, which clips off a defender and goes out for a corner, which, yawn, Greece clear.

2054: Giourkas Seitaridis is booked for a foul on Freddie Ljungberg. The anti-football continues.

2051: Christian Wilhelmsson chips the ball over Antonis Nikopolidis from the right-hand edge of the 18-yard box and I can tell you everyone around me was hoping that would go in so Greece have to come and play some football. Meanwhile, someone's started hoovering right next to me in the office and it's quite annoying. It's the noise equivalent of this game.

2048: Georgios Samaras is coming on for Theofanis Gekas for Greece. Oh I'm so pleased I got to watch him play for 45 minutes while his defenders passed the ball around at the back. Shame on you Greece. We're back under way.

2044: "Greece v Romania final. Neither team concede a goal and get into the final. Greece retain their title in a 5-4 thriller."
Josh, Castleford, via text

2041: Player Rater - Silly marks, if you don't mind me saying. Sweden's Henrik Larsson has a ludicrous 7.97, with Greece's Vassilis Torosidis on a paltry 4.77. Get rating.
Rate the players

2037: Yeah clearly it's not full-time, sorry for the mistake. Definitely a case of wishful thinking.

2036: "The commentators on 5 Live are having a go at the Greeks' style of play. I don't get it! If it ain't broke don't fix it!"
Euan, Newbury, via text

Great point. The whole disaster with Euro 2004 was that there wasn't a team capable of breaking down Greece, who basically just defend really well as a unit - you can't blame them for playing to their strengths. Surely this time there will be at least one team who can outmanoeuvre them - in fact no offence Greece, but I'm praying that there is. This is rubbish.

2032: HALF-TIME Greece 0-0 Sweden

2031: Christian Wilhelmsson gets away down the left but Greece have enough players back and they get his cross away, with Freddie Ljungberg and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both trying to make something of it. This game desperately needs a goal for Sweden, it's like 2004 all over again.

2028: "I thought the Italians were the oldest team at the Euros. Get the facts right kids!"
From Jim in Preston, via text

Kids? I'll accept any sort of apology pal - Italy's starting XI last night was the oldest team in competition history, but the average age of Sweden's squad is the greatest at this tournament. Are you with me yet mate?

2026: "For a first game it's unbelievable how much these two teams look like they are afraid to lose. Greece are just passing the ball around at the back and Sweden don't like it. I don't like it either."
BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Steve McClaren

2024: "I'm backing the Greeks. The're the friendliest European nation by a long shot - I was in Corfu when they won last time and the atmosphere was the best I've ever experienced!"
James in Chester, via text

2021: So we've established that Greece are going to sit quite deep and Sweden will need to come up with something a bit special to score against them. The problem for Sweden is that with an ageing team - the average age of their squad is 29 years and 85 days, the oldest at the Euros - they haven't got much explosive pace going forward. They really could do with some.

2018: So close for Zlatan Ibrahimovic - according to reports the world's highest paid footballer. Freddie Ljungberg drifts a cross into the box and the Internazionale hitman clips a header on to the roof of the net.

2017: Sotiris Kyrgiakos concedes a corner after a good burst forward from Freddie Ljungberg.

2014: "George Clooney appears to be in goal for Greece. Perhaps he's researching a new role."
William, via text

Really? Four years to think of a new gag and nothing.

2012: Greece are playing it slow-slow-slow at the moment, really biding their time before looking for an opening, cue a few early whistles from the Swedish fans. "It's got to be up to Sweden to create something," says Steve McClaren on BBC Radio 5 Live.

2010: "This is the only game of the tournament with just one vowel between the two teams. Significant perhaps?"
Andy, Maidenhead, via text

Yeah I really don't think so, but thanks anyway.

2006: Freddie Ljungberg goes down after Traianos Dellas goes up for a header and climbs so high he accidentally knees the West Ham midfielder in the rib cage. Seems OK though, despite a recent rib injury.

2004: A good start from Giorgios Karagounis down the left, who turns neatly to create some space before Sweden clear the danger. Then he goes and ruins it by giving the ball away.

2000: "People aren't giving Greece the respect that defending champions deserve. They've done it once and I find it hard to believe they won't make it out of this group and into the quarter-finals, behind Spain."
nickslick75 on 606
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1957: Anders Svensson catches a left-foot volley from 22 yards right out of the sweet spot and it only narrowly avoids Antonis Nikopolidis' top right-hand corner. Cracking hit that.

1955: Haha. I love Big Phil Scolari. He's just called Ruud van Nistelrooy the "King of offside" after his goal last night. Great stuff from the quotable Brazilian.

1953: Wow - was that Cristiano Ronaldo? No, it was Angelos Charisteas, dribbling surperbly past two Swedish tackles down the right and cutting in towards goal, his shot saved low down by Andreas Isaksson. Great stuff from the Euro 2004 final goalscorer.

1952: "Blimey, looks like absolutely every Swedish person is wearing yellow."
MagpieMatt on 606
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1949: Petter Hansson gets his head on to a corner but it flashes across the Greek's six-yard box.

1948: Angelos Charisteas is booked inside the first 60 seconds for a naughty two-footed lunge on Petter Hansson.

1948: "Are you surprised people aren't texting in? I can't think of a more unappealing game in the whole tournament. Time for a bbq and a sit in the garden."
Jamie, via text

Jamie, never darken my text commentary door again.

1946: Greece get us under way as they begin the defence of their title.

1945: "Greece will still be an extremely difficult side to beat, they only dropped five points in qualifying. But the onus will be on Sweden to take the game to the Greeks a little."
BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Steve McClaren

1943: So we've seen every team and their anthems now. Sweden, I'd give them 7/10, an honourable effort, while the Greece players get 6/10 but their fans 9/10. Player-wise, the Italians have been the most impressive for me, which just goes to show it makes no difference whatsoever. But you probably knew that anyway.

1941: The players come out to an enormous roar at the Stadion Wals-Siezenheim in Salzburg. Cracking atmosphere, boy I wish I was there.

1940: It's all gone a bit flat on the texts - I can't believe you lot aren't bang up for this one after the extraordinary last 180 minutes we've been treated to. Get them in on 81111 - and if you do have a mobile in your hand, you might want to know that if you text the word 'euros' to 81010 you will get a link to our Euro 2008 website. Click on that and you're in a world of mobile international football tournament news heaven. Remember, texts to the BBC cost 10p to 15p and that although our site is free for you to access, your network operator will charge you for the amount of data you use.

1937: "I reckon Henrik Larsson will score a hat-trick tonight with Sweden to win 3-0. I don't believe Greece will win and I think they were extremely lucky in 2004."
iambadman on 606
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1933: I'm looking forward to seeing Theofanis Gekas tonight. According to the notes I've been given by BBC Sport's brilliant Noel Sliney, Gekas grew up in the shadows of Mount Olympus and was a talented Greco-Roman wrestler, winning awards before his dad told him his future lay in football. Great stuff.

1927: As for Greece, it's incredible to think that before winning Euro 2004, they had never won a game at a major tournament. Theo Zagorakis, who captained them four years ago, exclusively told BBC Sport: "This team is also quite strong, with some elements we had in 2004 and some new players that add more energy." Once again, Europe, you have been warned.
Greece's rise and fallWhat happened to Greece's Euro 2004 heroes?

1923: "Zlatan has nothing to prove to me, I think hes a sensational player. I'd love to see him in the Premier League. Larsson isn't too bad either - take Spain out of the equation and I think Sweden have the best strike-force in the Euros."
GunnerLot on 606
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1916: Despite a record of 18 goals in his 50 caps, Zlatan has remarkably failed to score in his last 14 internationals - a run that dates back to 12 October 2005 and a World Cup qualifier against Iceland. He carries the weight of the nation on his tempestuous shoulders once more.

1913: Lots to look forward to in the next game, which pits shock Euro 2004 champions Greece against Sweden and their box office strikeforce of 36-year-old Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I'm a big Zlatan fan, but he has got a lot to do to convince many English football fans after his abject displays for Inter Milan against Liverpool in the Champions League this season.

1909: "On a positive note, if we (Russia) continue to play like that at least we will be get rid of Hiddink which is a good thing. Should've offloaded him earlier (to Chelsea)."
Droog on 606
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1907: TEAM NEWS Greece v Sweden
Greece: Nikopolidis, Seitaridis, Kyrgiakos, Antzas, Dellas, Torosidis, Charisteas, Basinas, Katsouranis, Karagounis, Gekas.
Sweden: Isaksson, Alexandersson, Mellberg, Hansson, Nilsson, Wilhelmsson, Svensson, Ljungberg, Andersson, Ibrahimovic, Henrik Larsson.

1905: Well that was just terrific. Two great games in a row and this tournament has really come to life. Dare we hope for some more fireworks from Greece and Sweden?

1903: Player Rater - Not a massive surprise, with the sensational David Villa head and shoulders above everyone else on a massive 8.95, with his partner-in-crime Fernando Torres next best on 8.25. Get marking!
Rate the players

1900: "That Torres is a good player - one of the big clubs is bound to want to snap him up soon."
Npd_McNpd on 606
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Come on Liverpool fans, that's just a little bit funny, no?

1857: "It looks like Spain have the hunger you need to win a tournament this time as well as the quality they always have."
BBC Sport pundit Marcel Desailly

1852: "That was just brilliant to watch wasn't it?"
BBC Sport presenter Gary Lineker

1851: "Well held up by David Villa to wait for support. He's got all the tools. What a performance."
Dan, via text

1850: FULL-TIME Spain 4-1 Russia

1847: GOAL Spain 4-1 Russia
David Villa turns provider as he lobs a brilliant ball into the path of Xavi, running on to the ball and hitting a fierce volley from 15 yards that Igor Akinfeyev does well to parry up into the air, with Cesc Fabregas heading the rebound home.

1846: Sergei Semak is given the freedom of the Spanish box to shoot at Iker Casillas, but he tamely sends a left-footer straight at the keeper.

1844: Trust me to curse the Spanish, though I'm pleased I left it so late now. Incidentally, that is the first time two teams have scored in the same match at the Euros, as so many of you are correctly pointing out.

1842: GOAL Spain 3-1 Russia
Consolation for the Russians as a corner is flicked on at the near post and Roman Pavlyuchenko, who has really deserved some reward for his display, stoops to nod in at the far stick.

1842: By the way, did I mention earlier I'm supporting Spain at the Euros?

1840: "I think David Villa just added another 10m onto his price tag for this performance."
stonecoldsober on 606
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1838: Roman Pavlyuchenko keeps going for Russia and he rifles in a 25-yard shot that whistles just past Iker Casillas' left-hand post.

1836: "Villa and Torres seem quite good pals judging by the goal celebration on the third goal. Would LOVE to see them together at Liverpool."
Dan, via text

1833: Liverpool's Xabi Alonso comes on for David Silva.

1831: GOAL Spain 3-0 Russia
First hat-trick of the tournament as David Villa completes his treble. With Russia's defence out of position Cesc Fabregas pings a pass over to the left for Villa, he twists and turns his way into the penalty area, causing Roman Shirokov all sorts of problems, before slotting into the corner of the net. A very nice hat-trick indeed.

1831: "Arsene Wenger's here with his cheque book, I think David Silva would be perfect."
Sam, via text
Wenger hits Basel - and brings cheque book

1828: Roman Pavlyuchenko hits another shot from 20 yards that is straight at Iker Casillas. He's still working hard to create chances, the blond striker who bagged a brace against England.

1826: Roman Pavlyuchenko is played into a yard of space in the Spain box, but as he lets fly with a left-foot volley Carles Puyol gets across to make a block every bit as good as Anyukov's a moment ago. Russia take off Vladimir Bystrov, who only came on at half-time and send on striker Roman Adamov.

1823: Alexander Anyukov prevents David Villa wrapping up his treble with a quite exceptional block on Sergio Ramos' cross from the right. Soon after, Marcos Senna lets fly with a 20-yard volley that Igor Akinfeyev saves.

1822: "Best game of the tournament so far. Torres and Villa are superb! And the Spanish midfield is controlling the game brilliantly. Spain were my pick to win the entire competition before the game and I've seen nothing thus far to challenge my assertion. Brilliant stuff."
Zippy, George and Bungle on 606
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So 606 is back up and running - hopefully for good. Fill your boots.

1819: Andres Iniesta leaves us with the memory of that stunning pass for the second goal - he's been suffering from food poisoning and Santi Cazorla comes on to win his third cap.

1818: Great one-two between David Silva and Xavi and the Valencia man is thwarted only by a fine Roman Shirokov challenge.

1816: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov slams a shot wide of the Spain target from 25 yards but both defences are looking a bit ropey at the minute.

1815: David Villa runs at the heart of the Russia defence and as they back off and back off he fires in a 20-yard shot that Igor Akinfeyev gathers low down to his right. Almost the hat-trick, that one.

1813: Spain appear to have settled for what they've got a little bit here. Russia take off Igor Semshov and bring on Dmitri Torbinski in his place. A Russia goal might make Spain wake up.

1812: "(See 1805) Don't think they'll have it on at the job centre either."
Tom, via text

1810: Fernando Torres is taken off, with Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas on in his place to win his 27th cap. Meanwhile, we're having some technical problems which is putting our 606 debate out of action. Sorry, will let you know when it's back up and running.

1807: Excellent going forward, but Spain are a bit shaky at the back and Russia aren't out of this one yet. Vladimir Bystrov beats the offside trap and gets down the left to win a corner, from which he has a clear header 10 yards out, nodding straight at Iker Casillas.

1805: "Work won't put the match on. I'm off to the job centre tomorrow."
Si at CPM, via text

1802: We are back under way and Dmitry Sychev has gone off for Russia, with Vladimir Bystrov his replacement.

1801: "Is it any wonder Xavi and Iniesta are keeping Cesc out? They are absolutely brilliant."
redandblackT1899 on 606
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1757: The BBC pundits all reckon Ruud van Nistelrooy's goal last night should have been adjudged offside. Just saying.
You Are The Ref special on Dutch goal

1756: "My boyfriend seems to be getting a lot of first goalscorers right. I'm just happy to spend the winnings."
Di, via text

1752: PLAYER RATER - Spain striker Fernando Torres is leading the way on 8.09 at half-time on the Player Rater charts, while Russia's Denis Kolodin trails in at a poor 4.5.
Rate the players

1749: "The two strikers have been fantastic, their diagonal runs behind the defenders are so intelligent."
BBC Sport pundit Gordon Strachan

1747: HALF-TIME Spain 2-0 Russia

1745: GOAL Spain 2-0 Russia
They might as well rename this tournament the European Counter-attacking Championship. Russia have a corner, Spain clear it, Joan Capdevila finds Andres Iniesta, he holds off one challenge before playing a truly magical pass to beat the offside trap and find David Villa, who slots coolly between the legs of Igor Akinfeyev to double Spain's advantage.

1743: Roman Pavlyuchenko hits a free-kick into the wall and then hammers a blinding left-foot volley against the crossbar from the rebound - but it wouldn't have counted as the whistle had already gone for a foul.

1741: Sergio Ramos bombs down the right and his run is checked by Sergei Semak, who does well to stop the Real Madrid defender and wins a goalkick into the bargain.

1738: Brilliant stuff again from Fernando Torres who beats poor Denis Kolodin again with ease down the left, before his pull-back is hit by David Silva and blocked.

1736: "(See 1618) You'll be happy to hear I can see the tiny telly fairly well, despite the best efforts of my colleagues walking in front of it."
Greg, via text

And Greg is definitely a better name than Meh, too.

1733: "I'm devastated by that goal! I had Klose first scorer and 2-0 win for Germany the other day. Now I had Torres first goalscorer and 2-0 for Spain today! Why are strikers so unselfish?"
RedMantis on 606
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1730: What a shame. Xavi plays a gorgeous pass into the path of David Villa, but he can only get there first by hauling down his marker and he doesn't get the chance to finish off the move.

1727: Andres Iniesta slips in David Villa and he stings the palms of Igor Akinfeyev with another right-foot drive. Spain are starting to look dominant.

1727: Russia need to be very careful now. They just gave Andres Iniesta about 50 yards to run into - they have to shut the space down before Spain double their advantage.

1724: Fernando Torres lets fly but Igor Akinfeyev is well placed to parry the ball away.

1723: Time seems to stand still in the Spain box as the ball is crossed in from the Russia right, Konstantin Zyryanov eventually slamming a shot against the foot of the post with Iker Casillas nowhere, before Spain counter and Fernando Torres clips a shot wide when he might have done better. Great end-to-end stuff now.

1722: "Both sides pass the ball far better than England. They're constantly looking to attack and move into space. Man, I'm bitter."
Lemon face, Stoke, via text

1720: GOAL Spain 1-0 Russia
More unselfish striking play at this Euros, remarkable. Fernando Torres steals the ball from Denis Kolodin, races through on goal and he looks certain to score, but instead of shooting the Liverpool man moves it sideways for David Villa to roll into an empty net.

1718: Some lovely passing leads to an opening... for Russia. These boys can play, make no mistake. After some decent inter-play a cross from the right is directed a few yards wide by Igor Semshov. Great stuff.

1717: "'Foul on Torres' - wonder how many times we will hear those words tonight. As long as he gets up afterwards it's OK with me. Russians seem a bit more direct. Spain might need Xabi Alonso's direct approach to break the deadlock some time in the second half."
Gerrardswhiskers on 606
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1714: A few whistles from the Spanish fans as Yuri Zhirkov upends David Villa, but still no booking despite a spate of early fouls.

1712: Denis Kolodin goes straight through the back of Fernando Torres - one more foul and he's in the book for sure.

1711: "Are we sure Sergei Semak is Russian? His name doesn't even have a 'v' in it."
wildonionbagger on 606
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1709: Fernando Torres, winning his 50th cap, cuts in from the left and fires a shot just wide of Igor Akinfeyev's right-hand post. Shortly after, Sergio Ramos picks out David Villa and he crashes a left-foot shot over when he might have done better.

1704: Denis Kolodin gives away a free-kick just outside the Russia box down the left, but Xavi's cross is poor and the Russians clear the danger confortably in the end.

1703: The rain has created a very slick surface, which might just suit Spain's high-tempo passing game.

1700: We're under way in Innsbruck, which is the cue for you lot to stop sending in Russian jokes, surely?

1659: Cracking anthem that Russian one and even Dutch coach Guus Hiddink is having a go. The Spanish players to a man look remarkably focused during theirs. Or are they feeling the pressure? We're about to find out.

1655: The players come out into the pouring rain and line up for the anthems. Who will win this afternoon's sing-off?

1654: Russia coach Guus Hiddink has taken his place on the bench nice and early. Today he creates history, becoming the first man to lead two countries at a European Championship finals. He was of course in charge of the Netherlands at Euro 96, when they were thumped 4-1 by England and bowed out in the quarter-finals on penalties to France.

1651: "The guy who delivers our soft drinks is Russian. His name is Dropusa Botlapopov."
From Carl, via text

Thanks for that pal.

1648: For those of you anticipating a goal fest from the Spanish at the Stadion Tivoli Neu in Innsbruck, it might be worth pointing out that Spain have never won a European Championship match by more than one goal. Which is why Stevo is predicting a 2-0 win for Aragones' boys, clearly.

1645: I think that some English fans are amazed at the news that players outside England can also play football. Iniesta is as good as Fabregas and obviously has a good understanding with Xavi."
messiisgod on 606
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1642: "(See 1618) The smallest telly ever was on a 1982 watch. It had a 1 and 1/4in screen. Sounds rubbish."
Luke, N Ireland, via text

Wish I'd watched France 0-0 Romania on it yesterday.

1638: If you're looking for an exciting match, the pre-match quotes from the managers bode well. "It'll be difficult for Spain to go one game without scoring," said their manager Luis Aragones. "People like to see a team that is going forward and taking risks," added Russia coach Guus Hiddink. Oh yes.

1636: Now, back to the game. Are Spain finally going to shake off their tag as the great 'underachievers' at Euro 2008? Or are they just not good enough to win tournaments? Are Russia too hampered by the loss of playmaker Andrei Arshavin through suspension and striker Pavel Pogrebnyak through injury to be a threat? Or can master manager Guus Hiddink work his magic again?
Hiddink poised for crowning gloryCan Spain win Euro 2008?

1632: If you are getting involved with the great outdoors while reading this, you might want to know that if you text the word 'euros' to 81010 you will get a link to our Euro 2008 website. Click on that and you're in a world of mobile international football tournament news heaven. But please remember that texts to the BBC cost 10p to 15p and that although our site is free for you to access, your network operator will charge you for the amount of data you use. Nice one.

1629: "Why is everyone writing the Russians off? I believe an upset could be on the cards. Remember, Spain are the best at underachieving."
stonecoldsober on 606
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1626: "I wonder if Fabregas would be interested in applying for English citizenship."
Nigel, Leeds, via text

1623: So it seems Ruud van Nistelrooy-gate is still rumbling on. I'm being urged to make a statement, after I claimed his goal against Italy was laughably offside last night. Well look, I've listened to all the evidence and it seems as though the rules suggest the goal should have stood. But no-one will ever, ever convince me that that was not offside. I believe common sense should play a greater part in officiating and for me, Ruud was off. So sue me. If you're desperate to find out what better people than me think, the BBC pundits will be talking about it at half-time in the Spain v Russia game - at about 1745 BST. Now let's concentrate on the matter in hand.
Dutch goal correct says ref chiefYou Are The Ref special on Dutch goal

1618: "Hopefully I'll be able to see the games tonight as I'm currently sitting about 10 feet away from the smallest telly EVER, at work."
Meh, via text

Meh (is that your name or just a symbol of your frustration?), just how small is the smallest telly ever?

1614: So as expected, there is no place for Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas in Spain's multi-talented midfield and of the five Premier League-based players in their squad, only Liverpool striker Fernando Torres gets the nod for the opener.

1611: TEAM NEWS Spain v Russia
Spain: Casillas; Ramos, Puyol, Marchena, Capdevila; Senna; Iniesta, Xavi, Silva; Villa, Torres.
Russia: Akinfeyev; Anyukov, Kolodin, Shirokov, Zhirkov; Semak, Zyryanov, Semshov, Bilyaletdinov, Sychev; Pavlyuchenko.

1608: And along with Iker Casillas, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Theofanis Gekas and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, you lot will be the stars of the show today. Forget work, forget the decent weather - in fact just forget everything else, think of it as a Euro 2008 lobotomy. Wipe every number from your phone except 81111 and get texting in. Oh, and don't forget to join the debate on 606 too. It got lively last night after the Dutch opener, I can tell you.
Join the debate on 606

1605: So get the tapas in, line up the vodkas, put the moussaka in the oven, get comfy on that Ikea sofa of yours and let the cream of Europe entertain you. After Berne's night, let's hope the cities of Innsbruck and Salzburg get something to feast upon today.

1600: I have a dream. That in years to come, magnificent saves, perfect passing moves and glorious goals are what we will most remember this European Championship for. After five games that failed to ignite, Euro 2008 exploded into life last night as the Netherlands crushed World Cup holders Italy, scoring two of the great counter-attacking goals in tournament history. Spain, Russia, Greece and Sweden, the standard has been set.
Read the latest from our blogger Fletch

BIG MATCH STATS

Head-to-heads

Greece and Sweden have met on six previous occasions with Greece winning twice and Sweden once.

Greece are unbeaten in their last five meetings with Sweden (two wins and three draws). The Swede's sole win came at the 1920 Olympic Games (9-0). This match is not recognised as official by Greece.

Team facts - Greece

The defending champions have won three successive European Championship matches, since losing 2-1 to Russia in the group phase of Euro 2004.

Greece are on a streak of eight competitive matches without defeat. The most recent being on 24 March 2007, in European Championship qualifying against Turkey (1-4).

At 69, head coach Otto Rehhagel is the second oldest coach at Euro 2008, only trailing Spain's Luis Aragones (69) by 12 days.

Team facts - Sweden

Unbeaten in four successive European Championship matches (one win and three draws).

The Swedish squad is the oldest at Euro 2008 at an average age of 29 years and 85 days.

Head coach Lars Lagerback is the first national team coach to be present at three European Championships (2000, 2004, 2008).

Player facts - Greece

Goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis has kept a clean sheet in three successive European Championship matches. Only Edwin van der Sar (Holland, five matches) and Dino Zoff (Italy, four) have recorded longer streaks without conceding a single goal.

Kostas Katsouranis will win his 50th cap if he plays. He made his debut in the last meeting between Greece and Sweden, which was a friendly in Sweden on 20 August 2003 (2-1).

Giorgios Karagounis and Sotiris Kyrgiakos were Greece's only ever-present players during qualification.

Theofanis Gekas was Greece's top scorer in the qualifiers with five goals.

Defender Vassilis Torosidis celebrates his 23rd birthday on the day of this match.

Player facts - Sweden

Henrik Larsson is top scorer for Sweden in European Championship competition having scored four goals in seven matches.

At the age of 36 years and 264 days, Larsson can break Roland Nilsson's record (36 years and 196 days) for the oldest Swedish player to compete at the European Championship.

Larsson, Thierry Henry (France) and Nuno Gomes (Portugal) can join Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany) and Vladimir Smicer (Czech Republic) as the only players to have scored in three European Championship editions.

Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (50 caps - 18 goals) has failed to score in 14 successive international matches for Sweden. His last goal for his country came in World Cup qualifying on 12 October 2005 against Iceland.

Big Match Stats source: Infostrada Sports




MATCH STATS: AT A GLANCE

POSSESSION

56% 44%
Greece Italy

Greece

  • 12 Tzorvas
  • 24 Vyntra yellow card
  • 04 Spyropoulos
  • 19 Papaststhopoulos
  • 05 Dellas
  • 06 Basinas (89 Ninis )
  • 22 Tziolis
  • 21 Katsouranis
  • 10 Karagounis (45 Gekas )
  • 26 Mantzios (45 Liberopoulos )
  • 14 Salpigidis (89 Pliatsikos )

Italy

  • 01 De Sanctis
  • 02 Bonera
  • 03 Grosso
  • 04 Chiellini (45 Legrottaglie )
  • 05 Cannavaro (60 Gamberini )
  • 06 De Rossi
  • 07 Camoranesi yellow card (60 Maggio )
  • 08 Gattuso
  • 10 Montolivo (45 Pepe )
  • 09 Toni (60 Gilardino )
  • 11 Rossi (69 Iaquinta )

Ref: Howard Webb
Att: 7000


Group D
18 June 2008 21:40
    P GD PTS
1 Spain 3 5 9
2 Russia 3 0 6
3 Sweden 3 -1 3
4 Greece 3 -4 0

see also
Greece team guide
15 May 08 |  Greece
Sweden team guide
15 May 08 |  Sweden


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