Russians taught Spanish lesson as second finalist is decided
A stylish 3-0 victory for Spain sees them through to the final against Germany at Euro 2008 in AustriaVienna -- Spain reached their first major final for 24 years after they beat a listless Russia 3-0 in Vienna on Thursday.
Second-half goals from Xavi Hernandez, Daniel Guiza and David Silva sealed victory for Luis Aragones' side, who will now play Germany in Sunday's final.
"We came here to win the tournament," Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas, one of the stars of the night, said.
"We go to the final, it's the most difficult thing. In a final anything can happen, but right now we have to enjoy the moment.
"Today I was playing a bit of a second striker, but I think with me, Xavi and Iniesta, I think we combined well in the middle."
Fabregas was rushed into action after 34 minutes after an injury to David Villa, and the Arsenal man said he would play any part he is asked to in Sunday's final.
"It's up to the boss but I will be here as soon as he needs me," he said."
Russia had stunned Holland in the previous round, with Andrei Arshavin at the centre of all their best moves, but he and the entire Russia side were well short of their best in the Ernst Happel stadium this time around.
"We lost against a very good opponent. Spain is a very good team," said Russia coach Guus Hiddink.
"We were able to keep to their level for nearly an hour. That was their plan to make us tired and we could not keep with them in the second half.
"But we can be proud to have got to this stage."
In steady rain, Spain, who had squeezed past Italy on penalties in the quarter-finals, dominated possession in a frenetic opening and David Villa and Fernando Torres caused the Russia defence all sorts of problems.
The only surprise was that it took as long as 50 minutes for Spain to go ahead, and Xavi side-footed them in front after a cross-shot from Andres Iniesta.
Guiza and Xabi Alonso replaced Xavi and Torres and Spain went further ahead 17 minutes from time, a lovely lofted pass from Fabregas setting up Guiza, who finished neatly.
Fabregas was the provider once again, eight minutes from the end, slotting the ball perfectly into the path of Silva, who found the corner with a fine left-foot finish.
Arshavin almost pulled one back late on but Iker Casillas saved well and Spain ran out convincing winners. DPA