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Page last updated at 20:47 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 21:47 UK
Russia 0-3 Spain

Russia 0-3 Spain


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By Jonathan Stevenson

My Champagne Moment for today is Spain's second goal because it sums up exactly why they are everyone's second team. The ball is played in to Cesc Fabregas, who swivels and at the same time clips a stunning pass into the path of Danny Guiza, who immaculately chests the ball down and lifts it over the advancing Igor Akinfeev. When Spain get it right, it's glorious and it's why I love them.

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Fabregas plays in Guiza and Spain are in the final

2019: I know tonight wasn't a classic, but what a tournament this has been. I just pray we get a final worthy of it on Sunday. Spain v Germany - for the first time ever in a major final - it's got a nice ring to it, hasn't it? Have you decided who to support yet? Champagne Moment coming up in a minute. Love it.

2215: Spain coach Luis Aragones could have a long walk ahead of him if his team wins Euro 2008. Aragones promised in a Spanish TV show on 15 April that he would do a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain with his wife if he guided the country to the title. Didn't say where he was starting from, mind.

2210: "Spain to win the Euros, Rafael Nadal to win Wimbledon - come on lads!"
Anonymous the Anonymator, via text

2206: "Viva Espana! C'mon Spain, the perennial underachievers win Euro 2008 and it will be a fitting way for John Motson as he retires from international football commentary."
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2202: "It's a great shame that David Villa won't be fit, but I think the Germany three at the back - Jens Lehmann, Christoph Metzelder and Per Mertesacker - are vulnerable and Spain can do some damage against them."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Alan Green

2157: "This means a lot. The fans and the players had faith, but we must continue on this track and give 100% in the last game to win it. We showed a lot of maturity in the second half. But Germany have great players and it should be a great final. They have a killer instinct."
Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso

2153: Player Rater - Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cesc Fabregas is miles out in front on Player Rater with a mark of 8.27 that is still rising. Andrei Arshavin, for so long the darling of Player Rater, is being punished for his ineffective display on 4.56.
Rate the players

2148: Heartbreaking news from the Spain camp as David Villa is ruled out of the final of Euro 2008 with the injury he picked up in the first half. Will Luis Aragones play Cesc Fabregas in his place?

2145: "Marcos Senna snuffed out the threat of Andrei Arshavin expertly and perhaps we should give him credit for closing down Arshavin rather than criticising the Russian for having a poor game."
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2142: "I have watched Spain play five times this tournament and when they play and Cesc Fabregas comes on, he gives them something extra they otherwise don't have. They need him."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

2140: The Spanish players are enjoying their moment in Vienna as the rain keeps hammering down. They go over to their fans and take a well-deserved bow - Spain are into their first major final since Euro 1984, when they fell to the French. It's been an awful long time coming.

2138: "Virtually every tournament we go into, we talk about Spain and the talent they have at their disposal. Well now they've produced, but they will meet the old masters in Germany."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Mike Ingham

2136: FULL-TIME Russia 0-3 Spain

2135: "Going on Germany and Spain's performances in the semis surely Spain should win the final no trouble?"
Max, via text

2133: "Is Arsahvin becoming like Ronaldo? Disappearing in the big games..."
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2132: Russia nearly get one back, but Iker Casillas produces a nice save for the cameras from Sergei Semak's header.

2131: Russia haven't caused Spain any problems. It has been an extremely one-sided match."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

2130: "Were I ever unable to have children, I'd want Cesc to sire them! Missus wouldn't mind either. What a legend."
Newell, via text

2129: My mate Pearlo, who thought Spain would be rubbish again at Euro 2008, has just texted me to say it's a shame Luis Aragones's team won't play this well in the final against Germany. Pearlo - I give up on you son. You should try to listen to your old pal sometimes.

2125: GOAL Russia 0-3 Spain
Rampant. Andres Iniesta picks out Cesc Fabregas down the left and he sends the ball towards the penalty spot, where David Silva takes a touch and whacks the ball past Igor Akinfeev to put the Spaniards into the final in Vienna on Sunday.

2124: Andrei Arshavin plays a lazy pass into the path of no-one and the ball runs through to Iker Casillas, who hasn't had much to do since the break. After two sublime displays, Arshavin has been an enormous let down tonight.

2122: I'm not going to stop banging on about Andres Iniesta now. He plays another ridiculous 40-yard pass into the path of Danny Guiza, who wins a corner. It's an exhibition of how to pass the ball this, from Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas. Delightful.

2121: Spain v Germany then. Are you getting excited already?

2119: Danny the Stat begged me to say Diamond Guiza. But I refused. Are you proud of me?

2117: GOAL Russia 0-2 Spain
Game over now. Cesc Fabregas, who has been imperious since he came on, clips a sumptuous pass into the path of Danny Guiza, who chests the ball down and lofts the ball over the advancing Igor Akinfeev.

2116: "It must be said, Fabregas has been majestic. Him and Torres have been the two best players on the pitch tonight."
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2114: Cesc Fabregas hits one in speculative fashion from 25 yards that Igor Akinfeev uncomfortably pushes one-handed over his crossbar.

2112: Double change for Spain - Danny Guiza and Xabi Alonso come on for goalscorer Xavi and Fernando Torres. Great news for Andres Iniesta - he'll complete his first 90 minutes of Euro 2008 now.

2111: Brilliant tackle from Yuri Zhirkov just as Fernando Torres is set to pull the trigger from Cesc Fabregas's pass.

2107: "You can see by Guus Hiddink's face and him shouting instructions that he is not very happy with some of his team here. It's the first time we've seen him."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

2106: Game, set, ma- oh hang on, he's missed. Sergio Ramos crosses from the right and Fernando Torres gets himself into the ugliest position of all - he looks like he's allergic to the football - and it cannons off his knee and flies wide.

2105: Andres Iniesta is showing his class now, a brilliantly disguised pass picks out Cesc Fabregas down the right and his cross is blocked. Soon after, Fernando Torres drills wide from eight yards.

2104: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is the latest in the book and Russia are becoming increasingly ragged now. Andrei Arshavin, like many of our texters on 81111, is anonymous.

2100: Yuri Zhirkov is cautioned for a foul on Andres Iniesta and Russia bring on Dmitri Sychev for Ivan Saenko.

2059: Now Yuri Zhirkov gets bombing into the Spain half. The left-back is kept out of the Spain box by a great Sergio Ramos tackle - defensively, he's been top drawer so far. Russia take off Igor Semshov for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

2058: "Anyone still complaining about Iniesta keeping Cesc out of the first team?"
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2056: Spain are going to enjoy playing on the counter now and Xavi tees up Fernando Torres, who curls a couple of yards over from the left-hand edge of the 18-yard box.

2054: GOAL Russia 0-1 Spain
I'd started writing Russia 0-1 Barcelona, seriously. Andres Iniesta creates a yard of space down the left, cuts into the box and fires over a cross-shot that Xavi does really well to deflect into the net from six yards.

2053: They are just not quite at it tonight, either team, so far. Spain attack and Sergio Ramos gets away down the right, but his cross is headed away. Then Russia counter and Roman Pavlyuchenko's clipped ball into the box is cleared.

2049: Back under way in Vienna. Come on goals.

2048: "Both teams have been technically excellent and 21 of them play outside the Premier League. Coincidence? I think not! Many 0-0s are just plain dull. This one isn't. The first goal will blow this whole game apart and I reckon it will come before the hour mark."
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2046: By the way, if you've got a refereeing issue and you simply must have it answered, why not ask You Are The Ref and he'll try to sort out your problem. My colleague Andrew McKenzie has gone to meet the creator of YATR today, so lots of chat coming up on that one in the next few days.
You Are The Ref

2043: (See 1953) Well I'm so glad I exclusively revealed it most definitely would not end up 0-0. I can only apologise profusely and offer to never darken your screens again if, indeed, it does end up 0-0.

2041: Player Rater - Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's a very middling bunch of scores from users of our Player Rater tool after a half in which neither side took control. No-one's got lower than 5.75, and no-one's higher than 6.78. Igor Akinfeev is that top man, while Andrei "Fear me, I usually get nine on Player Rater" Arshavin is wallowing in the uncharted territory of 6.05.
Rate the players

2037: "Spain have had most of the possession but they haven't created nearly enough goalscoring opportunities to deserve the lead."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

2034: HALF-TIME Russia 0-0 Spain

2033: Pat Nevin was right - as far as one-man forward lines go, Roman Pavlyuchenko is absolutely different class. He heads on a goalkick, gets to the ball first, holds off Sergio Ramos and plays a blinding 30-yard crossfield ball to Alexander Anyukov. Good job he is on form, as Andrei Arshavin has been disappointing so far.

2030: Spain have got to get more players around Fernando Torres. Sergio Ramos breaks and picks out the lone frontman but he loses possession surrounded by four Russian defenders and with no teammates anywhere near.

2028: "Fabregas is a great player but personally I think Spain should have brought a striker on. It's possibly too early for Fabregas to make an impact."
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2026: Bit better from Spain. Xavi tees up Fernando Torres to clip the ball over a defender's head and shoot left-footed at Igor Akinfeev.

2023: "It looks like Cesc Fabregas will play in the support role to Fernando Torres, but I'm not certain that's his best position - he's far better coming from deeper."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

2022: Roman Pavlyuchenko slices a shot wide with his left-foot from six yards. Spain try to readjust after the loss of David Villa.

2022: Spain striker and Euro 2008 leading goalscorer David Villa is replaced by Cesc Fabregas. He felt something as he took that terrible free-kick just moments ago. A massive shame.

2021: Russia are much more in this game at the moment, they are setting the tempo a little bit. Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas looks like he is coming on for David Villa, who is injured.

2018: Roman Pavlyuchenko forces Iker Casillas into a magnificent, flying save after he curled the ball towards the top corner from 25 yards. Referee gives a goal kick. Boo.

2016: 25m? Pah. David Villa clips a back-pass straight to Igor Akinfeev.

2016: Konstantin Zyryanov commits a pretty cynical foul on David Silva and Spain have a free-kick 30 yards out. No booking, though.

2013: "I think Russia are looking sharp. Arshavin is feeling his way into it. I think the weather is going to play a fair part in this game though."
atomipomm on 606
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Could do, we've just had our first flash of lightning of the night.

2011: "The Russians are a bit cautious, as if they don't want to make the same mistakes they made in the first game against Spain."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Mike Ingham

2009: As it continues to bucket it down in Vienna, the fans begin to chant White Stripes' Seven Nation Army. Well, it wouldn't be Euro Two Thousand And Great without it, would it?

2007: "I haven't really seen Andrei Arshavin want to get involved in the game yet. He just seems to be walking around, not that interested."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

2005: Yuri Zhirkov gets on the end of a fine Konstantin Zyryanov pass but his cross from the byeline drifts beyond the goal.

2003: In the absence of Denis Kolodin - the new Arie Haan? - Roman Pavlyuchenko hammers his effort a yard over the bar.

2002: Fernando Torres tries to chest down a long pass into the penalty area and Sergei Ignashevich does appear to have an arm across the Spaniard, but the referee gives nothing. At the other end, Andrei Arshavin is clumsily fouled by Carles Puyol and Russia have a free-kick 35 yards out.

2002: "Stevo. I played a charity match at Hampden last month and set up a goal with a cross. After the game Pat Nevin, watching from sidelines, described it as a delightful little dink cross that even he would have been proud of!"
David Dishon, at work, Edinburgh, via text

2001: "Great weather for shots from distance."
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1958: David Villa whacks in a shot from 20 yards that moves like a Ryan Sidebottom outswinger and Igor Akinfeev does well to parry it away.

1958: Igor Semshov and his colleagues weave some pretty patterns down the Russian right, but his cross is too close to Iker Casillas.

1956: "Spain's kit is a bit rubbish isn't it? Mustard and black? Ughhh."
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1953: It's not going to be 0-0, I can assure you of that. Fernando Torres fashions a half-chance in the Russia box but his shot cannons off the legs of Igor Akinfeev.

1952: Stunning cross from the right from Xavi and Sergio Ramos flings himself towards it, only inches away from contact in the end.

1951: Andrei Arshavin tries to turn Sergio Ramos, but the Real Madrid defender stands up to him well and gets in a superb tackle.

1950: Still hammering it down. Apparently, if the game has to be abandoned it would be replayed on Friday.

1947: A touch late, but who's counting? We are under way in Vienna.

1945: Prince Felipe of Spain, heir to the Spanish throne, and his wife Princess Letizia are representing their country in the Ernst Happel Stadion tonight. The anthems are over, let the football commence - but not before Iker Casillas and Sergei Semak read out anti-racism messages.

1942: For some reason, there is a delay playing the national anthems. After a two-minute wait, here they come. And remember, ahem, no words to the Spanish one...

1942: "(See 1912) Pat Nevin's also a man of culture. That's why we named the legendary Edinburgh University intra-mural team 'Pat Nevin's haircut'. We won little except the worse strip in Britain competition in The Guardian. I would describe it but must get the kids out the bath."
Phil, Glasgow, former goalkeeper, via text

1940: "Russia have improved markedly with every match, Spain have got steadily worse, I sense a 4-1 Russian romp tonight."
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1938: The players are in the tunnel. Iker Casillas gave Guus Hiddink a great big hug a few minutes ago, touching scenes after their time together at Real Madrid.

1937: "The sneaky Russians will sneak through tonight I reckon. They play as a unit and I reckon Spain will bottle it once again in a major semi. My money is on Russia, with Pavlyuchenko grabbing a goal."
Demsie, via text

1932: "People keep going on about Fabregas not starting. OK, he's a truly terrific player but there's no room for him this year. Xavi and Fabregas wouldn't work like Senna and Xavi and Xavi is who Spain look to. Spain's success shows that your best team doesn't always contain your best players."
Rhys, Wales, via text

Very, very good point.

1928: Stevo Predo: Russia 2-3 Spain
If only embarrassing myself was written into my contract.

1926: Fans of Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias might be interested to know that the veteran will be crashing out some tunes in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg this evening. But don't worry about his safety, he won't be A Man Alone as security around the 64-year-old will be stepped up. Iglo used to stand between the sticks for a Real Madrid youth team don't you know, until a serious car crash in 1963 put paid to that career. How different the world would have been had Iglesias, Luciano Pavarotti and Pope John Paul II all become goalkeepers instead of going into their chosen professions?

1923: "I think Spain will bottle it. Russia have Hiddink."
BrianGG on 606
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1920: Russia are up against it - history tells us that much. Only two sides have ever won a major tournament after losing their opening game - the Netherlands at Euro 1988 and West Germany at the 1954 World Cup, when they beat Hungary in the final having lost their opener 8-3 to the Magical Magyars. Though history told us Spain would lose on penos on 22 June - only for Spain to make a mockery of that one.

1916: There's a lot of texts coming in about someone called Eaton. Now all I know is that he's a British tennis player and he's losing at Wimbledon. So, football fans - can you get texting? It's 81111, of course.
Live - Eaton v Tursunov

1912: I was lucky enough to grab hold of former Chelsea and Everton flyer Patrick Nevin a couple of days ago to find out what he reckoned would happen in Vienna tonight. Tell you what - Nevo isn't half a fan of that Russian side and boss Guus Hiddink, but crikey he knows his stuff as well. What a thoroughly nice chap.
Pat Nevin on Russia v Spain

1907: Here goes that man Danny the Stat once again: "No doubt who users of our Player Rater tool are backing tonight. It's Spain, Spain, Spain all the way. The players of Luis Aragones have averaged a score of 6.73 throughout this tournament, making them the second-highest ranked team. But who's in front? The Netherlands. And who beat them in the quarters? Russia. Stats = complicated."

1904: It's absolutely whacking it down in Vienna as the Spanish players step out on to the slick surface to go through their warm-up. I mean, really hammering it down. I feel wet just watching.

Andres Iniesta
1902: Stevo's one to watch: Andres Iniesta. A defence-splitting through-ball to die for in the first game apart, the Spanish schemer has had a relatively quiet Euros. But blessed with extraordinary technique, sublime weight of pass and a wonderful awareness of the players around him, write the talented Iniesta off at your peril.

1858: "(See 1837) So Lippi has broken the oldest rule in the book by rejoining a team he left? Didn't he win the Scudetto twice and make a Champs Lge final after returning to Juve for a second stint?"
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Well, you certainly made me look ridiculous, didn't you? Nice one. Though Danny the Stat says it didn't work for Gerry Francis at Rovers and that's all the comeback I've got.

Yuri Zhirkov
1855: Stevo's one to watch: Yuri Zhirkov. The marauding left-back with the 1980s hair and boundless energy has lit up Euro 2008 with a stunning impression of the great Roberto Carlos in his pomp. But don't expect him to stay on the left flank - he'll be causing mayhem all over the place. A one-man exhibition of Total Football.

1851: "(See 1815) How frustrating to see the Russian players offered two gorgeous girls each if they win tonight. When I was playing for Squires Wanderers in the Lancaster Sunday League Third Division, our win bonus was a sausage and egg mcmuffin each. Oh for a Russian billionnaire!"
Cass in Lancaster, via text

1847: "Shocked that Fabregas isn't starting after his performance on Sunday night - surely he's proved by now that he deserves a place in the first XI?"
Stevie357 on 606
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1845: Russia subs: Gabulov, Malafeev, Yanbaev, A.Berezutski, Adamov, Ivanov, Shirokov, Bilyaletdinov, Sychev, Bystrov. Spain subs: Palop, Reina, Albiol, Fernando Navarro, Fabregas, Santi Cazorla, Alonso, Sergio Garcia, Guiza, Arbeloa, Juanito, De la Red.

1842: TEAM NEWS Russia v Spain
So, Spain are unchanged from the side that beat Italy on penalties in their quarter-final, with Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas having to be content with a place on the bench again. Russia make one change, Vasili Berezutski coming in for the suspended Denis Kolodin.

1840: LINE-UPS Russia v Spain
Russia: Akinfeev, V.Berezutski, Ignashevich, Saenko, Arshavin, Semak, Zyryanov, Zhirkov, Pavlyuchenko, Semshov, Anyukov.
Spain: Casillas, Marchena, Puyol, Iniesta, Villa, Xavi, Torres, Capdevila, Sergio Ramos, Senna, Silva.

1837: Big news from the world of Italy tonight with the announcement that Marcello Lippi has, as my colleague Phil points out, broken the oldest rule in the book by taking up his old job as coach after Roberto Donadoni was sacked. He'll struggle to enjoy the same success as he did last time, that's for sure.
Lippi re-appointed as Italy coach

1834: See 1825. I feel I should now clarify that Russia will be playing in red tonight and, as the away team, Spain will line-up in yellow. But Louis wasn't to know that, was he? He's only four. I don't think Luis Aragones will be too chuffed - like many Spaniards, he thinks yellow is an unlucky colour. He's even refused to work with yellow training cones in the past. Probably doesn't listen to Coldplay, then.

1829: Apparently, there's other sport going on tonight. Now I love Tom Fordyce like a brother and Sarah Holt like a sister, but I know none of you will leave me in favour of Wimbledon, right? It's barely even a sport, some might argue.
Live - Wimbledon day four
Live - Eaton v Tursunov

1825: The impact of this tournament hit home to me on Wednesday when I was chatting to my lovely colleague Mark Orlovac - a Croatian whose only flaw is a fondness for rugby. He was telling me when he got home on Tuesday his young son, Louis, made him put on a white shirt for Russia while he donned a red top for Spain. Then the young man made them walk slowly from the kitchen to the garden (where they've got a goal, clearly) in the same manner the players walk out on to the pitch at Euro 2008. That was only four days after his beloved Hrvatska were bundled out of Euro 2008 by the Turks. And not a rugby ball in sight, too. Legends.

1819: Here's your first chat from the great Danny the Stat today: "It would be fair to say that users of our Player Rater have been wowed plenty by the front men of Russia and Spain. Late starter Andrei Arshavin is the highest-ranked player of the whole tournament with a credibility-busting average score of 9.02 - unbelievable in the harsh world of Rater. But Spain's David Villa (8.13 average) and Fernando Torres (7.57 average) both make the tournament top 10."

1815: "The Sun reported that some chap has offered each Russian player two beautiful women for a victory. Yeah right, as if that's going to motivate anyone who comes from the land of ridiculously svelte beauties. 2-1 Spain."
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1810: I had a feeling you might rock up for this one. I also know you don't need me to talk it up for you. Spain, in the process of putting to bed their tag as the great underachievers, take on the dashing, rampant Russians. What's important is that they both like attacking. Bring it on. And text me to high heaven while you're at it, on 81111, while joining the debate on 606.
Join the debate on 606

1804: Well, you pit arguably the two best attacking teams in Europe against each other in the semi-finals of arguably the greatest football tournament of all time. Arguably feels a bit like Christmas Day, doesn't it? Except you don't have to pretend to like your family today.

1800: So, how do you follow what happened on Wednesday? In fact, how do you follow match after match after match of relentless brilliance, unbelievable drama and mesmerising attacking football that has enchanted not just a continent but the watching world?



54% 46%
Wales Russia


  • 01 Hennessey
  • 03 Gunter
  • 05 Collins
  • 06 Williams
  • 04 Gabbidon (74 Vokes )
  • 02 Ricketts yellow card
  • 10 Edwards
  • 07 Stock
  • 09 Ramsey
  • 11 Ledley
  • 08 Bellamy


  • 01 Akinfeev
  • 02 Aniukov yellow card
  • 04 Ignashevich
  • 05 Berezutsky
  • 08 Semshov (70 Pavlyuchenko )
  • 10 Arshavin
  • 11 Semak
  • 13 Yanbaev
  • 15 Bystrov
  • 16 Kerzhakov (84 Rebko )
  • 17 Zyryanov

Ref: Manuel de Sousa
Att: 11589

see also
Spain 4-1 Russia
10 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Spain team guide
15 May 08 |  Spain
Russia team guide
15 May 08 |  Russia
Pick your Spain XI
23 May 08 |  Spain
Pick your Russia XI
23 May 08 |  Russia

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