Hiddink leads Russia to win over Dutch compatriots (Lead)

June 22nd, 2008 - 5:42 am ICT by IANS  

Basle (Switzerland), June 22 (DPA) Guus Hiddink skilfully lead his young Russian team to a memorable 3-1 win in Basle Saturday over his hapless Dutch compatriots - and into the semi-finals of Euro 2008. Hiddink’s skilful side surprisingly played the Dutch favourites off the park - and won with goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko, Dimitri Torbinsky and the majestic Andrei Arshavin.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy took the battle beautifully into extra-time with a headed equalizer four minutes from the end of normal time.

But the Russians were not to be denied their fully deserved win, which sets them up for a semi-final clash Thursday against Italy or Spain.

Interestingly, the three quarter-finals played so far have all been won by teams who finished second in their first-round group, despite having less time to prepare for the quarters than the first-placed teams.

“I am really proud of my team tonight,” was all that a delighted Hiddink could bring himself to say at the end.

Hiddink clearly won the tactical battle against Dutch coach Marco Van Basten, whose side turned in a surprisingly dull display after three handsome first-round wins had caused them to be considered tournament favourites.

Russia were far superior in the first half - with their excellent movement and precise passing - and should have taken the lead.

Their dominance continued after the interval. Pavlyuchenko’s volley took them ahead in the 56th minute, on a centre from the left from Sergei Semak.

Russia then missed good chances to put the Dutch out of their misery, and paid the price when Van Nistelrooy made it 1-1 by heading in a Wesley Sneijder free-kick in the 86th minute.

In second half injury time Russian Denis Kolodin was shown a second yellow card after fouling Sneijder, but referee Lubos Michel was told by his assistant that the ball had already crossed the line and the referee then withdrew the booking allowing Kolodin to stay on the field.

A Dutch revival seemed on the cards. Instead, Van Basten’s team looked exhausted and Russia took advantage to create several good chances on the break.

Eight minutes from the end of extra-time, with penalties looking, the magnificent Arshavin centred for Torbinksy to tap in from close range.

Arshavin then rounded off a remarkable performance by making it 3-1 with a cheeky shot that went through Edwin Van Der Sar’s legs.

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