Russia send Sweden packing
18 Jun 2008 - 22:11:19
Russia stormed through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 with a convincing 2-0 defeat of Sweden in Innsbruck setting up a last-eight meeting with the Netherlands.
Russia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink opted to recall playmaker Andrei Arshavin after he sat out the first two games due to suspension, while Sweden were boosted by star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic being passed fit to start.
Thirteen minutes in Alexander Anyukov played in a fine cross from the right, but Arshavin's header was flicked well wide of the far post from 12 yards and a couple of minutes later the same player shot wide when well placed.
Midway through the first half Yuri Zhirkov flashed a left-foot volley inches wide of the far post following a corner as Russia pushed for the opening goal.
It arrived soon after, as Anyukov played a one-two with Igor Semshov on the right and his low cross into the area was coolly converted by the waiting Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Sweden responded with Henrik Larsson making space to superbly meet a ball in from the left from Anders Svensson and divert a header against the outside of the post, with Igor Akinfeev well beaten.
Nine minutes before the break it was almost 2-0, as Pavlyuchenko shot against the woodwork from 15 yards and Isaksson had to scramble the ball away from danger as it rebounded back towards goal.
Five minutes into the second half Russia got the decisive second goal, as a superb quick break led by Zhirkov ended with the left-back feeding the ball across the area for Arshavin to sidefoot home into the far corner of the net.
That blow knocked the stuffing out of the Swedes, who failed to offer much of an attacking threat in the remainder of the game.
Late on Russia came close to extending their winning margin, firstly as Konstantin Zyrianov broke forward superbly from midfield before his shot was deflected against the post.
Anyukov then broke down the right and his far-post cross was met by Pavlyuchenko, but his header was directed straight at Isaksson.
Pavlyuchenko then wasted another opening after being set up by sub Ivan Saenko, but Russia had done more than enough to secure a crucial and deserved victory.