Wednesday, June 25, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Spain-Russia Preview

Will lightning strike twice in the semifinals? Let's hope not. I'd like to watch this game uninterrupted. The Spainish are hoping for a second strike, however. Following Spain's 4-1 win over Russia in their opening match, these teams meet for the second time, with Russia a vastly improved team since then. After giving up four goals in their opener, Russia have surrendered only one in three games. Andrei Arshavin was not in the line-up for the opener and he, along with Roman Pavluchenko have sparked the Russian resurgence.

Spain controled the run of play against Italy, but failed to produce the finishing touch that would have broken a scoreless deadlock. There was no shortage of chances for David Villa up front, but he'll need to regain the form he displayed with his opening game hat trick if Spain are to reach their first Euro Finals since 1984.

The venue: Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna, Austria
The broadcast: ESPN2, 2:45 pm ET
The prediction: Don't read too much into the 4-1 beat down Spain delivered on June 10. The rematch will be a much closer affair. Spain's advantage in goal with the Iker Casillas is the difference in a 2-1 win.

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