RUSSIA - SWEDEN - 2:0 (1:1)
18 June 2008.
UEFA Euro 2008. Group D.
Tivoli-Neu Stadion, Innsbruck.
Referee: Frank de Bleeckere (Belgium).
Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Aleksandr Anyukov, Sergei Ignashevich, Denis Kolodin,
Yuri Zhirkov, Sergei Semak (c), Konstantin Zyryanov, Igor Semshov, Diniyar
Bilyaletdinov (Ivan Saenko, 66), Andrei Arshavin, Roman Pavlyuchenko (Vladimir
Manager: Guus Hiddink.
Sweden: Andreas Isaksson, Fredrik Stoor, Olof Mellberg, Petter Hansson,
Mikael Nilsson (Marcus Allback, 79), Johan Elmander, Daniel Andersson
(Kim Kallstrom, 56), Anders Svensson, Fredrik Ljungberg (c), Henrik Larsson,
Manager: Lars Lagerback.
Scorers: Pavlyuchenko (24), Arshavin (50).
Yellow cards: Isaksson (10), Elmander (49), Semak (57), Arshavin (65),
Arshavin stars as Russia oust Sweden
by Paul Bryan from Stadion Tivoli Neu
Guus Hiddink's gamble of taking the previously suspended Andrei Arshavin
to UEFA EURO 2008T paid off in spectacular fashion with the forward putting
in a fine performance as Russia downed Sweden 2-0 to set up a Basel quarter-final
against the Netherlands on Saturday.
Back in style
The FC Zenit St. Petersburg player was a constant menace to a Sweden side
requiring only a draw to stay above their opponents on goal difference,
scoring Russia's second goal and striking the post in the second half.
If Arshavin showed what Russia had been missing in their first two games,
his team-mates displayed class of their own when a fine move resulted
in Roman Pavlyuchenko's breakthrough strike after 24 minutes in Innsbruck.
Guessing game over
With much of the talk in the build-up to the Group D decider centring
around Arshavin and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the news that both were starting
came as something of a surprise. Hiddink had hinted that Arshavin was
not match-fit while the condition of Ibrahimovic's knee meant the target
man was a doubt until the last minute. The Russia coach was at least true
to his promise that his side would chase victory from the off. Arshavin's
pass into the middle of the Sweden area saw Igor Semshov and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov
collide with the goal at their mercy, although Lars Lagerback's men threatened
in return soon after. Anders Svensson's cross found Ibrahimovic, only
for the No10's downward header to be collected by Igor Akinfeev with Henrik
Arshavin and Bilyaletdinov missed chances as the quarter-hour approached
before the former sent in a cross-shot that goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson
tipped over. From Konstantin Zyryanov's corner, Yuri Zhirkov's thunderous
shot zipped just wide. Then Russia's moment arrived. Arshavin released
Zyryanov down the right and the midfielder in turn found Aleksandr Anyukov's
run inside the box. The right-back rolled a pass to Pavlyuchenko and the
tall striker calmly finished for his second goal of the finals. Sweden
almost levelled moments later but Larsson's clever header from a Mikael
Nilsson cross bounced back off the bar. At the other end, Pavlyuchenko's
next effort struck an upright after another slick interchange involving
Arshavin and Bilyaletdinov.
Five minutes after the break and Russia had their second goal. Makeshift
left-back Zhirkov found himself racing away from the Sweden defence before
he crossed for the returning hero - on the run, Arshavin had no problem
directing the ball past Isaksson's right hand. Sweden were visibly rocked
and although their players began to react in the final third of the pitch,
the best they could manage was an Olof Mellberg header that flew harmlessly
over Akinfeev's crossbar. It was turning into the Andrei Arshavin show
and after the little maestro was booked for upending substitute Kim Kallstrom,
he was almost through on goal again but was finally outmuscled by Fredrik
With the contest entering its closing stages, Russia should have enhanced
their advantage as their enterprising attacking play produced several
late chances. Zyryanov went close when his deflected attempt came back
off the post before Pavlyuchenko spurned two great opportunities - first
heading straight into the grateful hands of Isaksson, then mis-hitting
a shot with only the goalkeeper to beat. No matter: the 2-0 scoreline
was enough for them to overhaul Sweden by three points and finish second
Roman Pavlyuchenko celebrates scoring Russia`s
opener (©Getty Images)
18 June 2008