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Russia fired Germany a stark warning last night that first place in the group is no formality, as they regained their merciless attacking essence in a 3-0 decimation of Finland in Helsinki.
Line Up’s
For Russia, Guus Hiddink exercised his ruthless managerial muscle to remove the defective Roman Pavlyuchenko from the starting eleven. The Dutch tactician – taking the reigns for the first time since his interim spell at Chelsea – recalled Dinamo Moscow striker Aleksandr Kherzakov to fill the void left by the £14m Spurs man.
The Russian coach will have vehemently expressed the importance of regaining a …

Having played out an unconvincing 1-0 victory against a poor Liechtenstein side last time out, Guus Hiddink will be looking for a vast improvement in his sides performance as Russia travel to Helsinki to take on Finland tonight.
The Sbornaja know that a win would have them snapping at the heels of Group 4 leaders Germany, whilst victory for Stuart Baxters’ Scandanavian side would see them leapfrog the Russians into second place, and stand them in good stead of qualifying for the first major tournament in their glory deprived history.
Key Men
The …

The emergence of the Russian national side at the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland appears to have been no token achievement. Whereas some smaller footballing nations such as Greece and South Korea have succeeded on the big stage and faded back into relative mediocrity, the Sbornaja have backed up their fine displays last summer by continuing to impress their brand of attacking football upon their rivals as they aim to bag a place at next years World Cup.
With Guus Hiddink at the helm of the Russian ship they …

On their return to Moscow, a huge crowd was waiting for the Russian team that made the country proud of its football abilities and potential. No one would have imagined that Russia would be in the semi-final of Euro 2008. But Dutch headcoach Guus Hiddink continued to prove his coaching credentials by turning the team into challengers for the trophy.

After having missed the first two games due to suspension, Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin was surely the best player for Russia, followed closely by Roman Pavlyuchenko. In an interview at the …

The Russians were never favourites against one of the best teams in Euro 2008. Spain has been bringing up world-class talent for ages, but it has never managed to dominate Europe in recent times. Their last, and only, success in the European Championship came back in 1964 when they defeated the USSR by 2-1. In Euro 2008, USSR no longer exists, but Spain still managed to defeat Russia by a clear margin of 3-0.

With the win over the Russia, Spain sets up a breathtaking final with Germany. Against Guus Hiddink’s …

These were the line-ups fielded by the Russia and Spain coaches. The winner of the match would meet Germany in the final, which will be played on Sunday 29th June in Vienna. Russia have just eliminated Holland, while the Spanish defeated World Champions Italy. Having met before in the group-stage, Spain beat Russia by 4-1, after which Russia found their best form to fight their way through to the semi-final of Euro 2008.
Russia

1 Akinfeev (GK)
22 Anyukov
2 Berezutsky
4 Ignashevich
18 Zhirkov
11 Semak
17 Zyryanov
20 Semshov
9 Saenko
19 Pavlyuchenko
10 Arshavin

Spain

1 Casillas (GK)
15 Sergio Ramos
4 Marchena
5 …

stadium: Ernst Happel, Vienna
referee:Frank de Bleeckere
assistant referee: Peter Hermans and Alex Verstraeten
fourth official: Kyros Vassaras
Russia: 1 Akinfeev (gk), 2 V.Berezutski, 4 Ignashevich, 9 Saenko, 10 Arshavin, 11 Semak (c), 17 Zyryanov, 18 Zhirkov, 19 Pavlyuchenko, 20 Semshov, 22 Anyukov
substitutes: 12 Gabulov (gk), 16 Malafeev (gk), 3 Yanbaev, 5 A.Barezurski, 6 Adamov, 13 Ivanov, 14 Shirokov, 15 Bilyaletdinov, 21 Sychev, 23 Bystrov
Spain: 1 Casillas (gk) (c), 4 Marchena,5 Puyol, 6 Iniesta, 7 Villa, 8 Xavi Hernandez, 9 Torres, 11 Capdevila, 15 Sergio Ramos, 19 Senna, 21 Silva
substitutes: 13 Palop (gk), 23 …

This is not the first time that promises are being made to teams’ players to incentivate them to give all their best in matches. In tonight’s match against Spain, Russia are seen as underdogs, but as could be seen against Holland, Hiddink’s army are no easy team to beat. Scoring against Iker Casillas, one of the world’s current best keepers in the frame of Cech, Buffon and van der Sar, must be the target that Russia must work hard for, in order to take anything out of Thursday’s game.

To incentivate …

Russia boss Guus Hiddink, known as the Magician in Russia, will have no injury worries ahead of the match against Spain. However, he will be without suspended duo Kolodin and Torbinski. Spain and Russia/USSR have met nine times in their history, with the Spaniards winning 5 times while Russia won just once. Spain are on an unbeaten 20-match run and are clear favourites to earn a place in the final to set a Germany vs Spain final on Sunday 29th June.

However, Russia have all the means to break Spain’s run …

Furia has the best goalkeeper of Euro, Iker Casillas, so they haven’t practiced penalties for semi-finals, but they have practiced free kicks, counting on uncertain Akinfeev. Before the quarter-final against Italy, the Spaniards relyed on pullin down the tradition – it’s been 24 years since the last time they played in semi-finals and for years 22nd June was a black day. Today, they hope for keeping one tradition – Furia has never lost in semi-finals on Euro. They played them twice – 1964 they beat Hungary and 1984 Denmark.

The game …