Arshavin seals win as Russians march on

ANDREI ARSHAVIN returned from suspension to earn Russia a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 with victory over Sweden in Innsbruck.

Sweden had no answer to the Zenit St Petersburg playmaker and Dutchman Guus Hiddink is now set to face his native Holland on Saturday.

Roman Pavlyuchenko opened the scoring at Stadion Tivoli Neu before Arshavin sealed the win Russia required after the break. Since starting to compete as Russia, in 1992, it is the first time they have been out of the group stages of a major tournament.

Arshavin, who has been linked with Manchester City and Newcastle, had been banned for two matches of the finals after he was dismissed in the final qualifier. With their attack bolstered, Russia made all the running.

Predictably, Arshavin started the move when Russia took the lead in the 24th minute, his ball down the right weighted perfectly for Zyryanov.

The ball was shifted inside to Anyukov and again to Pavlyuchenko, who provided a cool finish despite Fredrik Stoor’s last-ditch slide.

Sweden offered a reminder of their threat when Henrik Larsson looped a header onto the frame of the goal.

Pavlyuchenko struck the woodwork 10 minutes before the break and Zyryanov saw the rebound clawed away by Isaksson. Bilyaletdinov also wasted chances to extend the lead.

The second goal came in the 50th minute following another sweeping move. Russia went from defence to attack in seconds, culminating with Arshavin sliding in to convert Zhirkov’s cross.

Sweden refused to throw in the towel and Mellberg had a decent chance but headed over from a corner.

Russia also threatened to add more goals, and Zyryanov struck the post with 10 minutes remaining.

Russia: Akinfeev, Aniukov, Ignashevich, Kolodin, Zhirkov, Semak, Zyryanov, Semshov, Bilyaletdinov (Saenko 66), Arshavin, Pavluchenko (Bystrov 90).

Sweden: Isaksson, Stoor, Mellberg, Hansson, Nilsson (Allback 79), Elmander, Andersson (Kallstrom 55), Svensson, Ljungberg, Larsson, Ibrahimovic

Referee: Frank De Bleeckere.


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