Russia break 90,000 Dutch hearts in Basel


Russia have booked a place in the semifinals of Euro 2008 after scoring two goals in extra time to record a 3-1 upset win over the Netherlands.

This content was published on June 21, 2008 - 23:43

Dimitry Torbinski and Andrei Arshavin scored within five minutes of each other in the second half of extra time at the St Jacob's Park stadium in Basel.

Roman Pavlyuchenko also scored for Russia, while Ruud van Nistelrooy scored for the Dutch in the 86th minute.

Russia, coached by former Netherlands manager Guus Hiddink, will face either Spain or Italy in the semifinals on Thursday in Vienna.

Torbinski surged toward the far post in the 112th minute and hit a deep cross from Arshavin into the goal with the outside of his left foot. Arshavin scored the final goal in the 116th minute when his shot deflected off John Heitinga and went through the legs of goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

Van Nistelrooy had temporarily saved the Dutch late in the match, proving no one is more lethal from close range. From a free kick by Rafael van der Vaart, he wrestled away from Sergei Ignashevich and scored with a diving header at the far post.

In extra time the inexperienced Russians hung in and after Germany had beaten the sparkling Portugal, Turkey edged surging Croatia, another upset was in the making.

There were only a few thousand Russians within a sea of orange among the 38,374 fans, but they kept chanting "Rus-sia" long after the tens of thousands of oranje fans had fallen silent.

Pavlyuchenko scored his third goal of the tournament in the 56th minute when Sergei Semak found space in the centre to send a low cross into the heart of the penalty area, where the Spartak Moscow striker beat Joris Mathijsen and scored in the near corner.

Van der Sar, who had kept the Dutch in the game up to that point and was by far the team's best player, had no answer. And again there was no answer when Pavlyuchenko broke free on the right in the 96th minute, cut inside and shot past Van der Sar. This time the ball crashed onto the bar.

Golden Guus

With this result, Hiddink further added to his global credentials. He led South Korea to a surprising semifinal place at the 2002 World Cup and Australia into the second round four years later – two stunning surprises.

Now, his latest team is two games away from adding the European Championships.

All the omens were against the Russians. The Dutch had played the best football in the tournament, the stadium was full of opposing fans and Hiddink's players had been drained in Wednesday's do-or-die game against Sweden. Yet, he did it again.

On the other side, Marco van Basten coached his last game for the Netherlands. He moves to Ajax now that the tournament is over for his team.

Russia have reached their first semifinal since becoming an independent state in 1992 following the break-up of the Soviet Union. The Soviets lost to the Netherlands in the 1988 final but won the inaugural European Championships in 1960.

Oranje power

Before the match as many as 90,000 Netherlands fans had turned Basel orange.

"We think there are at least 80,000," said Henk Groenevelt of the Dutch police team in the city. "Probably there are 90,000. It is very difficult to indicate."

They were joined by numerous fans from the host country, who have switched allegiances since Switzerland failed to make it past the first round.

From above, a wall of orange could be seen in the official fan zone near Basel cathedral, in front of city hall and on the Rhine Bridge.

Others were seen swimming, waddling or floating in the river, which flows down through Germany before emptying out in Rotterdam.

They could also be spotted dunking their orange-ornamented heads in city fountains, clambering onto fountains and drinking beer – so much that the Swiss tabloid Blick declared on Saturday that "the Dutch have drunk the breweries dry".

There could well be a run on headache pills on Sunday.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Russia: Akinfeev, Kolodine, Ignashevitch, Anyukov, Zyryanov, Zhirkov, Semshov (Bilyaletdinov, 69), Semak, Saenko (Torbinsky, 81), Pavluchenko, Arshavin.

The Netherlands: van der Sar, Ooijer, Mathijsen, Boulahrouz (Heitinga, 54), de Jong, Van der Vaart, Van Bronckhorst, Sneijder, Engelaar (Afellay, 62), Van Nistelrooy, Kuyt (van Persie, 46).

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Euro 2008

Switzerland is co-hosting the Euro 2008 football tournament with Austria from June 7-29.

The first round games were played in four cities in Switzerland (Basel, Bern, Geneva and Zurich) and four cities in Austria (Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Vienna). The quarterfinals and semifinals are being hosted by Basel and Vienna, and the final will be held in Vienna on June 29.

The finals will be broadcast in 170 countries and are expected to be watched by about eight billion cumulative TV viewers.

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