Thursday, June 26, 2008
Spain Are In!
Three second half goals gave Spain a relatively easy 3-0 win over Russia, to book a place in the Euro 08 finals.
This victory did come at a price however, as the leading scorer of the Euro tournament David Villa, will miss the finals with a muscle strain.
Russia looked more like the team that lost 4-1 to Spain in the group stage, rather then the team that was on a great run and dominated the Dutch. Russia's lack of offense can be contributed to Andrei Arshavin's lack of success in breaking down the Spanish defense. Russia was only going as far as Arshavin could take them, and he couldn't do much today.
On a side note: Why is Arshavin crying? This man is about to make more money then he ever has in his entire life when he most likely signs with Barcelona...His soccer career is only going to get better...
Spain's depth was a key factor in today's win as Cesc Fabregas was able to come off the bench following Villa's injury in the 34th minute, and really provide a spark.
The scoring started in the 50th minute when Xavi redirected a David Silva shot into the net. In the 73rd minute Daniel Guiza got his second goal of the tournament off a nice pass over the top of the defense by Fabregas. The game was put out of reach in the 82nd minute, when Silva got the goal he deserved, another shot assisted by Fabregas.
The defense of Spain, which was the primary concern as to whether or not Spain could go all the way, did a great job of shutting down the suddenly dynamic Russian attack. Casillas wasn't forced to do much, seeing as Russia only controlled the ball for 35% of the time, but when he was called upon he played well.
Spain's win sets up a meeting with Germany, the team that many believed would win at the start of the tournament. Like I said in my Euro 08 Preview I figured Germany and Spain would be one of the 5 contenders to win.
My Prediction: Both teams thus far have been slightly underperforming, but doing enough to win games. At first look you have to think Germany will have the edge against Spain, as they hold a 4- 1-2 record against Spain in competitive games. At current form Spain is playing better, but a Spain team without Villa should lose to Germany in the finals.
WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN IN THE FINALS?