Russian delight, Dutch blues after Euro showdown
23 June 2008
HAMBURG – Russian president Dmitry Medvedev led the praise early Sunday as the whole country delighted in its football team’s 3-1 quarter-final triumph over the fancied Netherlands at Euro 2008.
"It was an outstanding game and a convincing victory," the Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as telling the players and their Dutch coach Guus Hiddink.
Hundreds of thousands of Russians took to the streets shortly after the extra-time triumph in Basle, Switzerland, and partied with "Rossiya – Champion" chants, honking and fireworks in the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities.
The big win from the Zenit St Petersburg star Andrei Arshavin and his teammates also drew praise from other quarters.
"Matched against a team lauded as the tournament’s best, Russia quite simply outplayed them," said British paper The Observer under the headline "Hiddink engineers Russian revolution."
Germany’s Bild am Sonntag said "Hiddink throws his Dutch out" and Der Spiegel magazine said on its website that "the replica beat the original."
The mood in the Netherlands was subdued as players and fans were brought down to earth harshly after a thrilling group stage with impressive victories against world champion Italy, France and Romania.
Frustrated fans clashed with police in the town of Delft while there was simple disappointment elsewhere as the fans went home instead of partying.
Several hundreds of fans had gathered at the central market in the old city after the Netherlands lost 1-3 to Russia in the Euro football quarter finals Saturday evening.
Fans began throwing stones when police tried to remove them from the market. Military police were called in to clear the square. Several fans were arrested.
In central Amsterdam, disappointed fans remained calm, as was the case in The Hague, where fans had caused unrest during previous matches.
But the Dutch media agreed that Oranje’s defeat was deserved.
"The tsar among the coaches ruled with Russia in Basle from the beginning until the end," said the AD news website, naming the Russian team "young, uninhibited and sensational".
The Volkskrant daily also named Russia’s victory "deserved" and voetbal international said on its website that "Russia sends stiff Dutch into hangover mood."
[dpa / Expatica]