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.
FINAL- That’s all for me today. Thanks for following along and please share your thoughts on the match in the comments section below.
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?
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.
90th minute- GOAL SPAIN. Fabregas with the header. Spain 4, Russia 1.
86th minute- GOAL RUSSIA. Nice goal by Pavluchenko, heading from close range. Spain 3, Russia 1.
77th minute- That sound you hear is the Roman Abramovich Brinks Truck backing up at Valencia’s headquarters.
Xavi Alonso in for David Silva.
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.
75th minute- GOAL SPAIN!!!! VILLA WITH HIS THIRD. WOW!!!
74th minute- Russia looks a mess today. Not Guus Hiddink’s best showing.
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.
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.
63rd minute- Santiago Cazorla coming in for Iniesta, who set up the second goal for Spain. Good stuff from the Barcelona man today.
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.
58th minute- Villa goes for the hat trick but Akinfeev smothers the shot.
54th minute- Cesc Fabregas comes on for Torres as Spain will switch to a 4-5-1 now to get more possession.
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.
50th minute- Russia is attacking early on, keeping Spain in its defensive third.
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.
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.
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.
45th minute- GOAL SPAIN. VILLA AGAIN. Spain 2, Russia 0.
44th minute- Casillas just sprints to kick a ball clear and he may be the fasted goalkeeper I’ve ever seen.
42nd minute- The free kick hits the Spain wall.
42nd minute- Russia with a dangerous free kick opportunity.
33rd minute- Russia attacks but Marcos Senna breaks it up. He’s a wall.
31st minute- Russia is working the wings well but can’t get anything from central midfield. The Russians miss Andrei Arshavin badly.
29th minute- Here comes Russia.
25th minute- Torres forces a good save from Akinfeev and Torres looks sharp today.
24th minute- Zurianov with the shot off the left post.
23rd minute- RUSSIA hits the post! Wow, terrible defending by Spain leaves Russia with a wide-open look.
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.
20th minute- GOAL SPAIN!!!! Villa finishes off a beautiful run and dribble by Fernando Torres. Spain 1, Russia 0.
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.
18th minute- Russia with another good attack to trouble Spain.
Here comes Spain, with
Villa drawing a corner with a nice move.
17th minute- Russia with a nice attacking sequence but can’t finish it with a good shot.
16th minute- Russia has definitely been physical with the Spaniards so far. How will Spain respond?
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.
12th minute- Russia starts a good attack and Spain avoids trouble despite some mistakes.
8th minute- Torres with a shot but it’s wide and not that strong. Good dribbles to get there though.
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.
4th minute- Iker Casilla punches away a dangerous Russia free kick and here comes Spain.
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.
1st minute- David Villa is starting next to Torres up top for Spain.
1st minute– And we’re off.
PRE-GAME– We’re almost under way. Does anybody still feel funny hearing the Russian anthem? I get Rocky IV flashbacks.
I picked Spain before this began, and now I think I’m even more convinced. I would love to see a Spain/Netherlands Final!
Dude, you took that very well. 🙂 I hate when I make some statement like that and then, inevitably, the dude starts pouring in goals. My wife just laughs and says, “wasn’t that the guy you were just badmouthing?” Crow…it’s not just for breakfast anymore.
im with ya (i support Germany) but i believe that they have yet to really prove themselves as although it was an emotionally high game Poland is hardly an Italy (arguably they are close to a Russia tho). They really gotta fix that back line and get them a bit more stable also gotta fix their lackidasical attitude that started the second half. I think we will see both, there was a great article on on soccernet about how they use attacking as a result of having poor defending.
Attacking, they must have one of the deepest benches and arguably one of the top teams.
The past few tournaments I’ve seen had Spain start out gangbusters just like this match. That’s typical Spain. When they win it’s often a blowout, but then at some point in the knockout round they come across a team that is able to stop their attack and they loose 1-0. They’ll win the blow out but they’ll loose the close match.
Unless they finally overcome that in this tournament.
I think the big difference is the caliber of player that’s keeping Fabregas on the bench vs the players we have keeping Freddie on the bench. Somehow, Silva and Xavi strike me as a slightly higher caliber than Bradley and Dempsey.
Fabregas off the bench. Can everyone please shut up now about Adu coming off the bench as a supersub? If Cesc frigging FABREGAS can come off the bench then I think Freddie Adu can handle it. Lots of GREAT players act in the role of supersub. It’s not a huge deal if Adu starts or comes off the bench.
Didn’t Spain start the last WC like this too? Yup, they beat Ukraine 4-0 before disappointing (thanks, wikipedia). Will it be more of the same?
Impressive performance by Spain. Villa and Torres are quite the dynamic duo.
Great changes by the Spanish, that midfield was a winner, and going with 2 forwards up top. Their defense might be their undoing, Russia had a lot of good looks while missing important attacking players, but as long as they can keep the ball and keep pushing, they’ll be dangerous.
seems like Spain/Holland would be fun…but I think Ballack and company could contain these guys. Am I the only one who thought Germany looked very good?
Will be interesting to see how far Spain gets this tournament. They definitely do not care much for defending, but playing Villa and Torres up top was just devastating on the attack.
No kidding, right? All credit to Villa on the 3rd. I didn’t like his play early on, thought he took a couple of bad shots instead of passing, and took advantage of great play by his teammates.
But goal 3 was his, and he just did a lot to make goal 4. Yum, crow.
Goal Russia on a header the Spaniards looked disdainful about defending.
@eric – How is that hat-trick humble pie tasting? 😉
Villa plays for Valencia, not Villarreal. As if Jozy didn’t have enough competition 🙂
Also sounds like a Spain/Holland matchup would great fun to watch.
Oh, Silva not Villa. Never Mind.
I think a -3 Goal differential will sink Russia’s chances to advance. I thought they’d make it out as the second place team as I am a big believed in Hiddink but they just don’t have a very good team. Sweden & Greece will probably both play for ties across the board.
Wait, they’ve taken out Torres for Fabregas and Villa for Alonso.
Are they now playing a 4-6-0?
Ives don’t you mean Valencia’s headquarters?
Got silva not villa.
So much for that.
Villa haters — what do you make of his hat-trick? Ha.
Gonna do pretty well today with my fantasy team, Villa seems to be killing everything..
The Russian defense looks like they’ve given up, Spain with 2 golden chances to go up 3 but don’t get quality strikes.
I think ditching Xavi Alonso was a good call for Spain, he’s good… but not 1st team international quality.
@eric – fair point. IMO resurgent year doesn’t give him back any of his steps. Villa had just as many goals as Raul this season, and Villa is several years younger/faster.
I have to agree the USA did a good job vs Spain and even better against Argentina. The Argies put 4 past Mexico, and we kept Spain to only scoring one goal.
Also, wasn’t Torres playing on his own up top for the USA game? I wonder how we would have fared against both Villa and Torres up top.
Spains defense is not that great, which makes it all the more disappointing the USA could not score on them. We need strikers!
Obviously Villa is making me look foolish, but I’d say the difference between the situation w Italy vs Spain is that Italy is relying on a bunch of guys from a disappointing Milan team that finished 5th, while Raul had a resurgent year for title-winning Madrid.
@eric – As evidenced yesterday by Italy, you should pick youth over experience at certain points. Raul is great, but has definitely lost a step or two.
Russia are definitely missing Pavel Pogrenyebek (or whatever his last name is). They look a little lost without him as the go to guy.
Ok, fine, the guy can finish. Russia need to finish some of the chances they are creating, because they are showing the ability to get forward.
What to make of Spain looking strong without Cesc? Does he stay on the bench for the next game?
Villa scores again on a counterattack, the right call as far as being onsides, and Spain has locked up the game at 2-0.
I really don’t like Villa’s game. He botched the last chance that Torres set on a silver platter, probably because he would have taken a bad shot himself. I’d rather have Torres and Raul.
Ramos gets forward for the first time today.
Villa and Torres. . . probably the best two strikers on the continent, on one side. It’s almost unfair.
It’s been a lively game so far, like a much better version of yesterday’s first match.
I don’t really like David Villa, it’s twice now he’s taken questionable shots when he should have passed. I know strikers should shoot, but I don’t like his decision making.
This game is up and down, great stuff! Who hit the pass that sprung Torres?
Definitely unlucky for Russia to be down 1-0 at this point. The defender should have just booted the ball away. Against another team Russia might be in trouble, but Spain isn’t the type of team who is going to sit back, so the goal isn’t as bad as it could have been.
Geez, by the time I typed that Russia hit a post, and Torres had another good chance to score.
Sweet counter. Torres run with a Villa finish.
Nice cohesive attack by the Russians, that was a better team attack than Spain has put together.
does anyone know where I can see this online besides 360 (i don’t get it where i live). in class and want to watch the game.
How good is a team that can sit Fabregas? Scary good, I guess.
Love the stadium venue with the alps in the background, great stuff.
I don’t think it’s a good sign that Spain are still tinkering with their lineup, ditching Fabregas.