Saturday, June 21, 2008

Holland/Russia running blog

It's the Dutch versus one of their own, Guus Hiddink, coaching a spry Russian squad trying to make history and reach the semifinals.

Netherlands: 1-Edwin van der Sar; 21-Khalid Boulahrouz, 2-Andre Ooijer, 4-Joris Mathijsen, 5-Giovanni van Bronckhorst; 17-Nigel de Jong, 8-Orlando Engelaar; 18-Dirk Kuyt, 23-Rafael van der Vaart, 10-Wesley Sneijder; 9-Ruud van Nistelrooy. Subs: Timmer, Stekelenburg, Heitinga, De Zeeuw, Van Persie, Robben, Melchiot, Bouma, De Cler, Huntelaar, Afellay, Vennegoor of Hesselink.

Russia: 1-Igor Akinfeyev; 22-Alexander Anyukov, 8-Denis Kolodin, 4-Sergei Ignashevich, 18-Yuri Zhirkov; 17-Konstantin Zyryanov, 11-Sergei Semak, 20-Igor Semshov, 9-Ivan Saenko; 10-Andrei Arshavin, 19-Roman Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Gabulov, Malafeev, Vasili Berezutsky, Yanbaev, Alexei Berezutsky, Adamov, Torbinsky, Ivanov, Shirokov,
Bilyaletdinov, Sychev, Bystrov.

Maria Sharapova is talking about Russia's chances versus Holland. She acknowledges that it will be difficult. Prescient observation.

Russia's national anthem - the players sing along, arms linked over shoulders. Said Hiddink earlier;“I don’t know the words to the Russian national anthem. But I like the melody, so I will mime along. If I’m going to be a traitor, I might as well do it properly.”

Holland's anthem is cheery, and the orange jerseys add a pop of unusual color to the proceedings. I know Hiddink knows the words to this song, but he's not singing. Marco Van Basten has to be the best-looking coach on the national team level. He looks like he could throw on a jersey and still contribute to Holland's depth.
Ooh, interesting detail - the grass for the game was imported from Holland. Home-soil!
2-FK, Russia, Arshavin was fouled. Russia mount an attack, but the ball gets knocked over the endline before they get a shot off.
3 - Van Bronkhurst sends in a cross, Kuyt can't quite reach it far post.
5 -
Boulahrouz had his prematurely born daughter pass away just four days ago. The black armbands the Dutch now sport are in her honor.
6 - Arshavin earns another FK, this one closer to the Dutch goal. Zhirkov cracks it on goal near post, but Van Der Sar gets there with a two-handed push to save a goal. Two corners by Russia follow, but the Dutch resist.
8 -
Pavlyuchenko with a header over the bar - Russia looking lively here. Sharapova must be happy - well, except for the missed shots.
11 - Russia's speed is putting a lot of pressure on the Dutch defense. The midfield of the Netherlands isn't seeing much of the ball at all.
13 - The Dutch begin to pick it up, adjusting to Russia and controlling the ball more. Russia caught them by surprise a bit, but no longer.
15 - Another foul on Arshavin - FK for Russia. Zhirkov mishits it, and it pops way high.
18 -
Boulahrouz down for a bit.
20 - Snjieder in the box, but his shot is blocked.
24 - Another FK for Russia. It's cleared.
28 - I can't think of Russia without remembering the move of MLS striker Damani Ralph to that country. It didn't work out that well for him.
29 - A foul on Van Nistelroy leads to a FK - Van de Vaart takes it, nicely swings the ball right in front of goal - Van Nistelroy somehow misses it. Ruud Gullit is probably still shaking his head over that one.
31 - Arshavin on the counter, in the box, shoots - Van der Sar save - he just pushes it wide with his fingertips.
32 - Off the corner, ball falls to Kolodin, who winds up a hard shot from a ways out - on target, but Van Der Sar pops the rocket shot over the bar.
33- Another shot soon after the corner by Kolodin, but this one is wide. Russia have come to play, but so has Edwin van der Sar.
35 - Arshavin hits a great cross, but the Dutch defense boots it safely out.
37 - Now the Dutch have been reduced to countering, but nearly succeed with an attack in the box, but the cross is knocked out with a desperate tackle.
39 - Dutch FK, Snjeider takes, but it deflects up and
Akinfeyev catches.
41 - Van de Vaart lofts in another FK - oooh. close, but just wide - it wasn't a shot, really, but no one from Holland was quite able to get there.
44 - Van de Vaart with a straight shot from the run of play, off a Kolodin bad pass, but Akinfeyev is there for that as well.
Halftime - After looking dominant early in the tournament, Holland has hit a hiccup versus Russia, who are using their speed and fitness well. It's anyone's game in the second half.
47 - Van Basten is looking to spark Holland, he's thrown in Van Persie.
49 - Dutch FK - Van de Vaart sends in another good 'un, all it needs is a touch and it's in goal, but the ball skips merrily just past Van Nistelroy.
51 -
Boulahrouz sees yellow for a tackle on Arshavin, who touched the ball just out of reach of Boulahrouz.
54 -
Boulahrouz is now off - Heitinga in - perhaps a good move, because perhaps Boulahrouz, with everything he's dealt with, is having trouble keeping his head in the game. Plus he has a yellow.
55 - So does Van Persie, now. Russia's free kick goes barely wide.
GOAL! Russia attack right off the goal kick, Arshavin passes to Simek, who crosses to
Pavlyuchenko, who redirects beautifully into the net. Nice. 1-0 Russia.
57 - The goal would be a shocker, except Russia have looked the better team this whole game. Sharapova is probably very happy right now.
60 -
Saenko getting treated for a head injury - a slight cut, looks like.
62 - Baby-baced
Afellay coming in for the Dutch, replacing Engelaar. The Oranjie fans look grim and quiet.
65 - They rally a bit for this Dutch corner, but Van Persie misses the ball.
67 - the Dutch with a good bit of possession around the Russian box, but they can't get a shot off.
69 - De Jong cuts off a final pass in the box, but the Dutch concede a corner.
Bilyaletdinov comes in for Russia, replacing Semshov
71 - Russia nearly puts the game away with a second goal, but Van der Sar stops the shot. Going the other way, Nistelroy gets a call - yellow for Kolodin for a foul on the edge of the box.
72 - Van Persie wastes the FK, shooting it way high.
75 - The Dutch are looking both desperate and yet unimaginative. bad combo. They keep getting stuck around the Russian box.
76 - Snjeider misses wide. Dutch fans look like their team - scared.
77 - Van de Vaart takes an outside shot - easily caught by
Akinfeyev. The Russians counter immediately and Van de Sar has to make his own catch on the other end.
78 - Russia earn a corner. They keep the ball for a while, until Saemek sends his cross skipping along the top of the crossbar.
86 - GOAL! Just when it seemed like it couldn't be done, when Dutch heads drooped very low, a FK mades all the difference - Ruud Nistelroy gets around his defender in the box, just enough to send it to goal. 1-1 All square.
88 -
Ooijer clears a cross in the box as Russia tries to come right back.
90 - Kolodin is booked - but not sent off immediately. The ref pulls a yellow for Kolodin - which would be his second, but then rescinds it after talking with his linesman. It didn't look like a bad foul - or even really a foul, at all.
Extra time - the Dutch might have the momentum now, but Russia are still very much in it.
92 - Snjieder from distance.
Akinfeyev has it.
93 - Arshavin sneaks a low shot in, but van de Sar gets down for it. Going the other way, Van Nistelroy tries his luck - misses just high.
95 -
Akinfeyev catches a Van Persie shot.
97 - Pavlyuchenko off the crossbar. He smacked that - so close.
100 -
Torbinsky redirects an Arshavin pass - Van der Sar gets down for that one, too. Russia are scrapping for it, not merely waiting for penalties.
101 - Foul on Arshavin, the Russina devil for the Dutch, sets up a FK - that goes quite close. Kolodin put some wicked bend on that.
107 - Almost a PK for Russia, but the ref waves play on.
109 - Almost a goal for Russia as Van der Sar gets hung out to dry by his defenders, but the cross in front of the goal skips by unmolested.
111 -
Torbinsky gets called for the late tackle on Van de Vaart - yellow card.
112 - GOAL! Russia will not leave it to penalty kicks, Arshavin attacks again. He's almost out of room on the left side when he sends in the cross, which somehow stays in and
Torbinsky gets a foot on the ball to put it into the goal. 2-1 Russia. What a shocker! Now the Dutch are chasing again.
114 -
Pavlyuchenko comes out for Sychev.
116 - Sychev sends a shot high.
117 - GOAL! Arshavin nutmegs Van der Sar to extend the lead. Wow. Great stuff. 3-1 - Russia. Sharapova is probably trying to find out if Arshavin is single.
120 - Russia keep the pressure on the Dutch, who have all but surrendered.
120 + Traitor Guus looks to have done it.
Final Whistle! The Russians say "Spasibo" to the Dutch and move on.


FC Uptown said...

Hiddink has the guys playing very well, better than the Dutch.

Interesting article here.,2144,3428952,00.html

A.C. said...

yeah, ESPN deportes had an article on how fan violence was down because with so many women at games, guys were better behaved.

Beax Speax said...

I'd imagine England's absence has helped keep fan incidents down, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to see lots of Russian fans traveling to watch the games...means that unlike the bad old day Russia is on the way to being a normal country....

CACuzcatlan said...

Guus for USMNT coach!!!

This guy is amazing. I don't want to discount Russia's talent, especially Arshavin and Pavlyachenko (sp?) but Guus has done wonders will them and other national teams (South Korea, Australia). He seems really good at taking good teams and making them great. That's exactly what the U.S. needs.

Anonymous said...

The beautiful thing about this format is that you go from group stage to knock out right away. It adds such an element of unpredictability (I'm not just saying that because I picked wrong) that it makes this format unique in soccer.

All that wave of momentum that you ride through group is immediately wiped away. You start from scratch and the teams that had to battle to get through are the ones who appear with the edge.

Maybe Spain will see what's happened so far and realize that they should go in with the attitude of the underdog.

A.C. said...

Spain is playing Italy. They ARE the underdogs.

Matt said...

Dunno about a wife, but Arshavin does have a child. He was one of the Zenit players who brought their kids up to get their UEFA Cup medals.

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