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 Russians roar into last four

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Number of posts : 75
Age : 30
Location : St. Peter_ Russia
Registration date : 2008-02-24

PostSubject: Russians roar into last four   Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:33 am

Russia coach Guus Hiddink got the result he wanted to become a traitor in his native Netherlands after his team's 3-1 quarter-final win after extra-time dumped the Dutch out of UEFA EURO 2008.

The 61-year-old former Holland boss had said he would be happy to be a Dutch traitor if his Russian team beat his countrymen and two goals in extra time broke Dutch hearts on Saturday.

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy had headed home an 86th minute equaliser to give the Dutch a life-line - and take him alongside Johan Cruyff on 33 goals for the national side - but super sub Dmitri Torbinsky grabbed a second in the 112th minute, before the outstanding Andrei Arshavin settled it with a third on 116 minutes.

Tactical victory
"I don't know how far we have come since our preparation for the first match (a 4-1 defeat by Spain) but usually the Dutch are a team who one cannot outdo tactically, technically or physically, but we did on all three counts," said Hiddink, who has also taken Korea Republic and Holland to FIFA World Cupô semi-finals in 2002 and 1998 respectively.

"Of course we realised we couldn't give away too many free kicks to them but as you get tired you tend to commit more fouls," he added."However, my players responded really well and instead of relying on the counter-attack they pressed for the winning goal."

Netherlands coach Marco van Basten held his hands up and admitted the better side had prevailed. "The Russians played a lot better than we did and deserved their victory," conceded van Basten, who steps down to take over at Ajax Amsterdam. "I can live with the indisputable fact that they were better than us.

"We delivered some remarkable performances in the first round, but, today (Saturday), we were not able to repeat those."

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this is the first time Russia have made the knock-out stages of a major tournament and will contest next Thursday's semi-final in Vienna.

But it was heart-break for Holland as the defeat signalled the last game in charge for Dutch coach Marco van Basten - who joins Ajax next season on a four-year deal - who made his swansong at EURO 2008 after four years in charge. The former AC Milan striker failed in his bid to bow out out on a high by giving the Netherlands a second European crown to the one he helped win in 1988.

Group-winner jinx
His Dutch team had come into the Basel quarter-final with a 100 per cent record from Group C having handed out comprehensive defeats to both 2006 FIFA World Cup finalists France (4-1) and Italy (3-0) on route.

After Holland defender Khalid Boulahrouz and his wife suffered the personal tragedy of losing their prematurely born daughter last week, the team all wore black arm-bands, but Saturday's result only served to cap a dark week for the Dutch.

Meanwhile, Hiddink has continued his habit of helping internationals punch well above the weight. The former Netherlands boss guided the Koreans to the semi-finals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and Australia to the knock-out phase in 2006 just before signing on to coach Russia.

His side opened their EURO 2008 campaign with a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Spain as David Villa hit a hat-trick, but the Russians hit back with a 1-0 win over Greece and were impressive in their 2-0 win over Sweden.

Both sides had plenty of chances in the first half. The Russians made a bright start and kept Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar busy in the first-half with Dynamo Moscow defender Denis Kolodin and Pavylyuchenko going close early on.

But the Dutch also threatened on attack with Real Madrid's Wesley Sneijder testing the Russian defence and fellow midfielder Rafael van der Vaart also squandered several chances as it remained 0-0 at the break.

Van Persie injection
Van Basten brought Arsenal forward Robin van Persie into the fray at the start of the half but the Dutch went behind for the first time in the tournament soon after.

After Arshavin terrorised Sweden in Russia's 2-0 win last week, he blasted in a free-kick which forced van der Sar into a diving save, but the shot just carried wide. Russia then opened the scoring when Pavlyuchenko slipped his marker and stabbed home Ivan Saenko's cross on 56 minutes for his third goal of the tournament.

But with time running out, the Dutch made their experience count as Van Nistelrooy headed an 86th minute equaliser from Sneijder's superb cross to put his side back in the game and take the match to extra-time.

And the goal which ended Dutch hopes came after a pin-point accurate cross along over the goal-mouth from Arshavin was poked home by Torbinsky in the 112th minute.

And Arshavin scored a third just four minutes later as his side will now face Italy or Spain in Thursday's semi-final.
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