Friday, June 20, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Holland-Russia Preview

It's the Guus Hiddink Grudge Match in Basel as Holland face Russia in quarterfinal #3. The current Russia and former Holland coach said he hopes to earn the title of "the traitor of Holland." If he's to do so, his men will have to bring down the tournament's highest-flying team.

Holland stormed through the Group of Death, winning their three matches by a 9-1 margin. The improved health of players like Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben have been instrumental in the Dutch run. The strength of veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has been overshadowed by the offensive display, but he could play a key role in securing a trip to the semifinals for the fifth time in six Euros for Holland.

Russia's Euro campaign got off to a brutal start with a 4-1 loss to Spain, but they've yet to surrender a goal since. The return of Andrei Arshavin sparked the 2-0 win over Sweden that earned Russia a spot in the quarters. Between Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko, Russia have the offensive horses to play the up-tempo style Holland prefer.

The venue: St. Jakob Park, Basel, Switzerland
The broadcast: ABC, 2:45 pm ET
The prediction: If Holland maintain their form from the group stages, no one is stopping their run to a title. That run continues with a 3-1 win over Russia. The bright side for Hiddink- he'll still be allowed to go home.

No comments: