Dutchman Guus Hiddink, Russia's coach, celebrates victory over the Dutch team
This past Saturday, another example of Russia's global resurgence was exhibited on the soccer pitch in Basel, Switzerland, in a thrilling quarter-final match between Russia and a highly thought of Dutch squad, at the European 2008 men's soccer tournament ("Euro '08").
Open container? Yes. To the Russian soccer team!
Playing inspired soccer from the start, Russia had several scoring opportunities. After a scoreless first half, Roman Pavlyuchenko connected for Russia's first goal (so far, Pavlyuchernko is Russia's leading scorer in the tournament). Later on in the second half, the Dutch answered with a well executed header from Ruud Van Nistelrooy. After a 1-1 tie in regulation time, the two sides played to a scoreless first half of extra time. In the second half of extra time, Dmitri Torbinsky and Andrei Arshavin scored to ice the game for Russia.
Fans in Red Square, Moscow, celebrate Russia's victory
Russia will play Spain in the semi-final. The other semi-final is between Germany and Turkey. The Russia-Spain game can be seen live this Thursday, June 26 on ESPN2 at 2:30 PM (EST) or 11:30 AM (PST).
Russia's qualifying for Euro '08 was seen as a fluke. Going into the tournament, Russia was ranked 24th in the world. Russia was not favored to get past the qualifying round. With this in mind, the Russians should be relatively happy, regardless of whether they win the next game. "Should be relatively happy" to mean that the momentum has swung in the belief that Russia can win it all. Like ice hockey, soccer is a game of breaks, including fluke goals. An upstart Greek team won the last Euro soccer tournament. In sports, seemingly so-so teams have been known to suddenly gel into an effective unit. The last two Russian victories against quality opposition (in Sweden and Holland) were not flukes. In these games, the youthful Russian team showed considerable poise, talent, and enthusiasm.
Andrei Arshavin after scoring the third goal of the game
Roman Pavlyuchenko during the game
Roman Pavlyuchenko after the game
Guus Hiddink practicing sprints