Spain Dominates Russia and Advances to Final


June 27, NY Times

VIENNA (AP) — Spain scored three second-half goals Thursday in the European Championship to beat Russia, 3-0, and advance to the final for the first time in 24 years.

The Spaniards, who have long been considered one of soccer’s biggest underachievers, will play old rival Germany for the championship on Sunday.

“For many years we haven’t won anything, while Germany is always up there fighting for the titles,” said Xavi Hernández, who scored Spain’s first goal. “So I would say Germany is the favorite.”

Against Russia, Spain used a penetrating passing attack in the pouring rain. Dani Guiza and David Silva also scored to give the Spaniards a shot at their second European title.

Spain, which won the 1964 European tournament, ended its run of five consecutive losses in the quarterfinal round by defeating Italy in a penalty shootout on Sunday.

Spain and Germany have not played a competitive game since the 1994 World Cup. Over all, Germany leads the series by 8-5-6.

Germany beat Turkey, 3-2, on Wednesday night and is seeking its record fourth Euro title.

“This team is already making history, but we can do even more,” the Spanish striker Fernando Torres said. “We’re proud of reaching the final, and against Germany on top of it all, which is a great rival.”

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photo: David Silva blasted a shot past Yuri Zhirkov of Russia to make it 3-0 and seal the Euro 2008 semifinal victory for Spain (Sergey Ponomarev/Associated Press)