Well, gosh, that’s the end of those wizzo Russian boys then!
“Game of two halves” springs to mind, as it often does with football. I came in about 20 minutes into the second half and saw a Russia that were better contained by Spain than they had been previously but were still showing the touches and determination that should have led to a goal. Arshavin was either having a bad day or being very well marked but Pavlyuchenko was making the most of it.
Then came half-time and with it, the end of Russia’s tournament. Somebody switched the electricity off and Russia just ceased to exist, particularly after they went a goal down. It really did look like another football cliché “boys vs men” from that point on. Did they not like the rain perhaps, I would have thought that would be more of an issue for Spain though? Given that “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”, I would venture to suggest that this Spanish team were raised on the plains of Spain, as opposed to any other geographical area that country might have. The Russian’s must have spent all their energy getting this far, they were worn out, certainly looked like it and a wet pitch isn’t going to help. Either that or Russia is trying to clinch a deal with Spain to supply gas or something. Wouldn’t surprise me. The only good thing I can say about Russia in the second half is that they managed not to lose 0-6.
So, top marks to the Spanish coach, Luis Aragones, top tactics apart from not playing Fabregas from the start. If he doesn’t start the final I’ll be amazed. Well done the Spanish players.
What to expect in the final then? Hard to say. Spain played a much duller game against the bigger and more experienced Italians than they did tonight. Will they get boring again against ze Germans, or will they go for it? Should be a good game anyway.