Hiddink's Russian heroes send the Dutch packing

Russian fans celebrated all through the night after a breathtaking 3-1 victory over the Netherlands. The Dutch, who sailed through the so-called "Group of Death", were battered by Russia when Dmitri Torbinsky and Andrei Arshavin scored two goals during extra-time, sealing their spot in the tournament's semi-final for the first time in history.

 

Russian fans celebrate all night long

Video posted by polikvilkin on June 21, 2008
Contributors

"A well-deserved victory"

It has been a well-deserved victory, not a random one. We played better then the Dutch. Why? There are several reasons. The line-up and the tactics had been chosen very wisely. We didn't let the Dutch to demonstrate their combination skills, we followed them closely on their half of the field, we didn't let them play fast, and we didn't let them move on the flanks.

For instance, Saenko was very active and forced the Dutch defenders to think about defense instead of helping their forwards. Our defense hugely improved after the first game. In the first game we had gaps between the lines.

Only Semak tried to help the defenders. With Spain, both the wingers and the central midfields didn't return to our half of the field and left our defenders face to face with the very dangerous Spanish forwards.

After that game it became obvious that our entire team should play in defense. Another reason is less obvious. Russia has made some replacements, and has put on the field a leader who started to talk – Sergei Ignashevich. As a result, the others started to communicate with each other as well.

Defense doesn't stand well when the players are silent. In the first game against Spain everybody played individually. Now they're interacting. Kolodin, Akinfeev, and of course Semak started to talk as well. To prompt each other in defense is essential.

This team can win this competition. Why not? Pourquoi pas? The victory hasn't just fell to our hands from a tree. Netherlands really had been the best team of the Euro 2008 until yesterday. But we played better. So why can't we win the following games?"

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