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Published on 27/06/2008

 27 June 2008

AUSTRIA – Germany and Spain are to contest Sunday’s Euro 2008 final after Luis Aragones’ side beat Russia 3-0 in a semi-final played in Vienna on Thursday while Roberto Donadoni is looking for a new job after being replaced by Marcello Lippi as Italy coach.

Spain started slowly but second-half goals from Xavi Hernandez, Daniel Guiza and David Silva sealed a deserved victory for the Iberians, whose last appearance in a European Championship final came in 1984 when they lost to hosts France.

"We came here to win the tournament," Cesc Fabregas, one of the stars of the night, said.

 Fabregas was rushed into action after 34 minutes after David Villa pulled a muscle, which will most likely keep the Valencia striker, who is top scorer at Euro with four goals, out of the final.

 The Arsenal striker made all the difference, setting up two goals as Spain completely dominated the second half to run out easy winners.

 "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."

 Also on Thursday, the worst-kept secret in international football was finally confirmed as Italian coach Donadoni was given the boot after failing to take the Azzurri to the semi-finals.

In a move that surprised nobody, the Italian federation said that former coach Lippi, who took Italy to the World Cup victory in 2006, would return.

Meanwhile, Europe’s governing body UEFA apologized for Wednesday’s TV blackout, which resulted in most parts of the world not being able to see all of the semi-final game in Basle that Germany won 3-2 against Turkey.

They said that they would switch immediately to generator power to prevent a repeat of the power-cuts that resulted in the signal loss.

"The protection system designed to prevent cuts in power by switching automatically to a backup generator failed," UEFA said.

The power-cuts results in three losses of TV signal, each six minutes in length.

Wednesday’s victory against Turkey has already assured German players of winning the highest-ever bonus.

Each squad member is assured of 150,000 EUR (234,000 USD) for making the final and would rake in 250,000 EUR from the nation’s ruling football body DFB if they lift the trophy on Sunday.

The DFB has invited former national coach Juergen Klinsmann to the final, the organisation’s president said.

"I would be really happy if Juergen Klinsmann comes to the final. Somehow it is his final as well," Zwanziger said in an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Klinsmann, who captained Germany to the Euro 1996 title, was Germany coach 2004-2006 and under his reign the team made remarkable improvements to a top team again, finishing third at the home World Cup in 2006.

Zwanziger also said he hoped that Loew would work with the team beyond his 2010, when his contract expires.

By Peter Auf der Heyde