Russia vs Holland: Report

With 9 goals in 3 matches, Marco Van Basten’s side were clear favourites to see off the threat of Hiddink’s Russia. Even the Russia coach admitted that his team’s chances of survival against the Dutch were very slim, and that it would need a miracle to defeat them. And the miracle happened! Guus Hiddink continues to show that whichever club he manages can be transformed into title challengers. He did it with Holland, with PSV, with South Korea and with Australia. Now he’s doing it with Russia. The line-ups fielded by both teams are:

Holland (Van Basten)

  • 1 Van Der Sar (GK) (c)
  • 2 Ooijer
  • 4 Mathijsen
  • 5 Van Bronckhorst
  • 8 Engelaar (out for Afellay on 61′)
  • 9 Van Nistelrooy
  • 10 Sneijder
  • 17 De Jong
  • 18 Kuyt (out for Van Persie on 46′)
  • 21 Boulahrouz (out for Heitinga on 54′)
  • 23 Van der Vaart

Formation: 4-5-1 with Van Nistelrooy lone striker

Russia (Hiddink)

  • 1 Akinfeev (GK)
  • 4 Ignashevich
  • 8 Kolodin
  • 9 Saenko (out for Torbinski on 81′)
  • 10 Arshavin
  • 11 Semak (c)
  • 17 Zyryanov
  • 18 Zyrkov
  • 19 Pavlyuchenko (out for Sychev on 115′)
  • 20 Semshov (out for Bilyaletdinov on 69′)
  • 22 Anyukov

Formation: 4-4-2 with Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko up front

The match went goalless for nearly an hour, with the Russian team dominating but failing to beat Ewin Van der Sar. The goal that opened the match came on the 56th minute from Roman Pavlyuchenko who scored his 3rd goal in Euro 2008. Everything pointed to a Russian win, with the Russians continuing to press after the goal rather than sitting back. When time was flying fast, and the last minutes of the game were getting closer, a free-kick by Wesley Sneijder found Ruud Van Nistelrooy who headed the equaliser for the Dutch. It was now obvious that an extra thirty minutes would have to be played.

The first 15 mins of extra time went goalless, with both managers starting to prepare for the possibility of a penalty shootout. The Russian goals came in the last 8 minutes. On the 22nd minute of extra time, sensational work by Russia star-player Andrei Arshavin created a goal which boosted the Russian army. Arshavin delivered the ball over Van der Sar and all Torbinski had to do was touching the ball at the far post. Holland’s chances were slipping away and they suffered a huge blow when the Russians got another goal: a blow which they couldn’t recuperate from in time. It was Russia’s key player Andrei Arshavin who added his name to the scoresheet. He picked the ball from a throw-in behind the Dutch defence and finished the ball from a very tight angle through Edwin Van der Sar’s legs after a slight deflection.

Potential winners Holland were out of the competition, with some tears from their players, in a 3-1 defeat against the Russian empire which can go on to dominate Europe.

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