Saturday, June 21, 2008
Russia Beat the Dutch!
The Dutch came into the Euro tournament playing some of the most exciting soccer we have seen in a while. In the group stage they were creative, explosive, and scored tons of goals on their way to an easy Group C victory.
However, their opponents in the Quarterfinals, Russia, came into the game playing in the exact same style. With these two similar styles of play coming together, the Netherlands could not adjust and lost 3-1 in extra time.
Russia controlled the play the entire 1st half, but could not convert on any of their opportunities. Van der Sar did all he could to save the barrage of shots coming at him.
Russia finally scored in the 56th minute off a Roman Pavluchenko goal and looked to be on their way to a victory until the 86th minute when Ruud van Nistelrooy equalized.
In extra time Russia's Andrei Arshavin showed why he is the most highly valued transfer target in the tournament right now, setting up the game winner in the 112th minute and scoring a goal for himself in the 116th minute.
The Netherlands loss is the 3rd straight group winner to lose in the quarterfinals.
Andy Gray put it best the other day. He said that we know the Netherlands can win pretty, but can then win ugly? The answer is no.
Like Portugal, the team that showed up in the group stage, was not the same team that showed up in the quarterfinals.
Russia fully deserved to win this game, and will be a real problem for either Italy or Spain.