Spain thrashed Russia 4-1 thanks to a triple goal feat by David Villa (20th, 44th and 75th minute). The fourth goal was scored by “Cesc” Fabregas during extra time. Our Observer, Russian coach Valeriy Nepomnyaschiy, says that though the game was lost, Russia hasn’t lost its hopes.

This first match has cooled down Russian expectations

After Medvedev was elected Russian President, Russians started to win international competitions one by one. First, CSKA Moscow basketball club won Euroleague, then FC Zenit Saint Petersburg gained the UEFA Cup, then Russia won World Ice Hockey Championship, and finally, Dmitry Bilan won the Eurovision singing competition. That gave Russians a reason to hope, though only jokingly, that with such a mascot as the new President Russia would win all international competitions, including Euro2008. But the first match of the Russian national team, when Russia lost to Spain 1:4, has cooled down these expectations.

We lack coordination and speed

I think we can advance farther if we improve our game. The main problem now, in my opinion, is the coordination between the two central defender and the defensive midfield. We lack coordination in attack as well. When Pavlyuchenko, for instance, moved left or right, nobody went to keep center. And, finally, the team lacked speed.

On the other side, not with standing 4 goals scored by Spain, Russian goalie Akinfeev played well enough. Yuri Zhirkov was up to his task, as always. Semak tried his best. I hope that if the Russian team manages to improve its game, we can make it to the play-offs. But I doubt we can make it further. Most likely, in the play-offs we will meet Holland, which is one of the best European teams now, and which plays better every day. It's Holland, Germany, Portugal or Spain - I think one of these four teams should win the competition.