Euro 2008: Spain vs. Russia (Running Commentary

Euro 2008: Spain vs. Russia (Running Commentary

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Euro 2008: Spain vs. Russia (Running Commentary

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Good afternoon folks. Group D is set to kick off with Spain taking on Russia and SBI will be here to help you follow the match.

Spain is one of the tournament’s heavy favorites, while Russia comes in with injury concerns but one of he best managers in the sport in Guus Hiddink. Can Fernando Torres keep up his impressive form from the club season? Can Russia overcome the injuries and suspension of Arshavin to pull the upset?

I will be providing running commentary on the match so feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions on the match in the comments section below.

Enjoy the match.

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FINAL- That’s all for me today. Thanks for following along and please share your thoughts on the match in the comments section below.

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FINAL- SPain 4, Russia 1. Just a great performance by the Spanish. Russia showed some life late but it was too little, too late and Spain is looking like the tournament favorites right now. Who will stop that midfield? And more importantly, who will stop David Villa?

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91st minute- Xavi with the hard blast that forces Akinfeev into a save, the rebound falls to a wide-open Fabregas, who heads it home easily.

Bad luck for Russia, which wasted a great chance to make it 3-2 just a minute earlier.

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90th minute- GOAL SPAIN. Fabregas with the header. Spain 4, Russia 1.

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86th minute- GOAL RUSSIA. Nice goal by Pavluchenko, heading from close range. Spain 3, Russia 1.

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77th minute- That sound you hear is the Roman Abramovich Brinks Truck backing up at Valencia’s headquarters.

Xavi Alonso in for David Silva.

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76th minute- A great ball finds Villa in space in the area, he dribbles his defender before sliding a near-post shot past a helpless Akinfeev. Too easy.

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75th minute- GOAL SPAIN!!!! VILLA WITH HIS THIRD. WOW!!!

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74th minute- Russia looks a mess today. Not Guus Hiddink’s best showing.

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67th minute- Great sequence by Spain and Villa was denied a perfect chance for a third by a last-ditch sliding tackle from a Russian defender.

Spain’s corner is headed at goal by Senna but Akinfeev saves it.

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65th minute- Cazorla is another Villarreal player who started out on loan with Recreativo Huelva, where he starred. Between him and Martin Caceres, the Huelva to Villarreal pipeline is looking like a great option for Jozy Altidore.

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63rd minute- Santiago Cazorla coming in for Iniesta, who set up the second goal for Spain. Good stuff from the Barcelona man today.

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61st minute- Spain is knocking it around while Russia can only stand and watch. The extra midfielder for Spain is just making it that much easier to control possession.

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58th minute- Villa goes for the hat trick but Akinfeev smothers the shot.

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54th minute- Cesc Fabregas comes on for Torres as Spain will switch to a 4-5-1 now to get more possession.

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52nd minute- The way Spain is playing today has to make U.S. national team fans feel better about how the United States did against Spain a week ago.

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50th minute- Russia is attacking early on, keeping Spain in its defensive third.

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46th minute- Russia with a halftime sub, Vladimir Bystrov is in the match for Dmitri Sychev. Those who read my Group D preview know that Bystrov is a speedy winger who could be a good threat for the Russians.

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HALFTIME- Spain 2, Russia 0. Beautiful stuff from Spain and while Russia has had some chances, they’re definitely missing Arshavin and Progrebnyak.

I guess we now know why Fabregas is on the bench. The Spain midfield is playing great today.

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45th minute- Andres Iniesta with a PERFECT through-pass to Villa, who one-times the chance through the legs of the on-running Akinfeev. Cool as you like.

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45th minute- GOAL SPAIN. VILLA AGAIN. Spain 2, Russia 0.

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44th minute- Casillas just sprints to kick a ball clear and he may be the fasted goalkeeper I’ve ever seen.

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42nd minute- The free kick hits the Spain wall.

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42nd minute- Russia with a dangerous free kick opportunity.

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33rd minute- Russia attacks but Marcos Senna breaks it up. He’s a wall.

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31st minute- Russia is working the wings well but can’t get anything from central midfield. The Russians miss Andrei Arshavin badly.

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29th minute- Here comes Russia.

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25th minute- Torres forces a good save from Akinfeev and Torres looks sharp today.

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24th minute- Zurianov with the shot off the left post.

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23rd minute- RUSSIA hits the post! Wow, terrible defending by Spain leaves Russia with a wide-open look.

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21st minute- Torres beats the Russian defender and draws Akinfeev off his line before dropping the pass to a wide-open Villa, who slots it into an empty net.

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20th minute- GOAL SPAIN!!!! Villa finishes off a beautiful run and dribble by Fernando Torres. Spain 1, Russia 0.

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20th minute- Russia fights off some Spanish pressure.

It’s raining pretty hard at the game but it doesn’t appear to be affecting play.

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18th minute- Russia with another good attack to trouble Spain.

Here comes Spain, with
Villa drawing a corner with a nice move.

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17th minute- Russia with a nice attacking sequence but can’t finish it with a good shot.

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16th minute- Russia has definitely been physical with the Spaniards so far. How will Spain respond?

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15th minute- Spain with a long-range shot that doesn’t trouble Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, one of the best young goalkeepers in the world.

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12th minute- Russia starts a good attack and Spain avoids trouble despite some mistakes.

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8th minute- Torres with a shot but it’s wide and not that strong. Good dribbles to get there though.

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6th minute- Arsenal fans will find it unsettling to see Cesc Fabregas on the bench for SPain as Aragones goes with a midfield of Xavi, Iniesta, David Silva and Senna.

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4th minute- Iker Casilla punches away a dangerous Russia free kick and here comes Spain.

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3rd minute- The key for Spain today will be controlling the midfield, which they should be able to do with Senna and Xavi in the middle.

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1st minute- David Villa is starting next to Torres up top for Spain.

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1st minute– And we’re off.

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PRE-GAME– We’re almost under way. Does anybody still feel funny hearing the Russian anthem? I get Rocky IV flashbacks.

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