Turkey battled well and can be proud of their effort, last night and throughout the competition, but it is Germany who will meet the winners of tonight’s match, Spain and Russia, on Sunday for the crown.
Spain have been many peoples favourites for the title, in terms of quality in personal, and it terms of form, with the added bonus that they play entertaining football, but Russia must rank as the surprise team of this years competition. While four years ago there is no doubt that Greece were the surprise package, winning the tournament, there will be pleasant smiles that this time the dark hourses who have come good have not employed negative tactics to get their results.
Alot can happen in a few weeks, and this is the case with Russia. They aren’t the same team that was dismantled easily by Spain in their opening group game, losing 4-1 to a David Villa hat trick inspired Spain. Tonight Spain will come up against a well trained unit who will not be overcome by the occasion, who will each know what their role for the team is and will do there best to perform that role. Andrei Arshavin has been the catalystfor the change to Russia’s fortunes. He was suspended for the opening 2 games, but since his return Russia have been the form team of the competition, along with Spain. They way they made Holland, the best team until then, look like an school side at times bares testament to that. Russia pride and self belief puts them up with the Germans, in terms of the whole being greater then the individual. They will have no doubts that they can get past Spain and Germany. Doing it will be harder though.
Spain will look to go better then both Portugal and Holland, who both looked great for 3 matches but then lost the most important one. The only unbeaten team left they will have to remain so to win tonight and on Sunday, with no time left for a bad day, as Russia had against them, and Germany did against Croatia. The Spanish have a feel that this is their year and with Villa scoring the goals, Cassilas making the saves, and a host of midfield talent to choose from, they could very well be right.
The Russians will come at the Spanish more than any team has yet done. There defense will be under threat as it has not been thus far, and Villa and Torres will have to make sure they take the chances that come their way. Spain will have learned a lot from their game against Italy and will look to carry that know how, that feeling that they can compete in tight situations as well as flowing open games, into this game.
Russia will be no push overs and will look to avenge their big loss in the opening round. Arshavin and Villa have been the stars and with both seeming likely to be moving on after this week the world will be watching and keeping tabs and these two in particular. Their dream moves could be made or lost tonight.
This could be the rare competition that sees both semi finals crammed with goals. Lets hope so.