Watch Russia At Euro 2008 Live
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Winners of the inaugural European Nations Cup as the USSR, Russia qualified for Euro 2008 at the expense of England. As Russia, they have made two appearances at the European Football Championship- Euro 1996 and Euro 2004. While the current Russian team does not have the same standing in the football world as the erstwhile USSR did, they are certainly no pushovers. And with Guus Hiddink, the man who masterminded South Korea's semifinal finish at the 2006 World Cup in charge of the national team, one can expect the Russians to spring a surprise or two this summer in Austria and Switzerland.
It may be interesting to note that Russia were the only team to beat Greece at Euro 2004. The Greeks, as we all know, created history by winning a tournament in which almost everyone expected them to take the flight back home after the group stage. The Live Sport Network offers you the opportunity to watch Russia live at Euro 2008, for a modest price of £9.99. A UK based company with solid expertise in this field, we aim to offer you nothing but the best. And when you buy this package, you also get to watch games from all the major football leagues across the world for one year- absolutely free !
Placed in a tough qualifying group along with Croatia, England and Israel, many regarded Russia's chances to be slim. Russia started off decently, drawing with Croatia and Israel and beating Andorra, Estonia and the remaining weaker teams. The turning point of their campaign came when they beat England 2-1 at home, leaving the door open for them to qualify. However a loss to Israel meant that the battle for qualification went down to the last round of games. Russia were on 21, and England were on 23. Russia needed to beat lowly Andorra and hoped for Croatia to beat England. As luck would have it, both the results went their way. Mladen Petric's late goal in London helped Croatia win 3-2, and a solitary Dmitri Sychev strike saw Russia emerge winners in Andorra.
Russia are in Group D at Euro 2008, with Sweden, Greece and Spain for company.
List of Russia's group fixtures at Euro 2008
June 10- Russia vs Spain in Innsbruck ( 18.00)
June 14- Russia vs Greece in Salzburg ( 20.45)
June 18- Russia vs Sweden in Innsbruck ( 20.45)
All timings in CEST ( Central European Summer Time- UTC + 2)
Russia made their first appearance as Russia at the 1996 European Football Championship, hosted by England. In qualification for that tournament, they were unbeaten. The only other teams who could boast of the same were Spain and France. Unfortunately, Russia were placed in an extremely tough group, with Germany, Czech Republic and Italy. They lost 1-2 and 0-3 to Italy and Germany, results which effectively ended their hopes of qualification. However in the next game, they came back from 0-2 down to draw 3-3 with the Czech Republic. Russia finished at the bottom of the group with a solitary point.
Russia came extremely close to qualifying for Euro 2000, but lost out to Ukraine. Going into the last round of games, the Russians needed a win, but could only muster a 1-1 draw with the East European team.
At Euro 2004, defeats to Portugal and Spain ensured that they would make another early exit. However playing for pride in their final group game against Greece, they won 2-1 and almost ensured that they took Otto Rehhagel's team out with them. Greece were saved by the goal they scored in the second half, as Spain lost 0-1 to Portugal.
The erstwhile USSR won the 1960 edition, and finished runners up in 1964, 1972 and 1988.
While qualifying for Euro 2008 was in itself an achievement, Russia will have to raise their game if they are to progress from Group D. Russia were very good defensively in qualifying, conceding just seven goals. Igor Akinfeev is his first choice, but both Malafeev and Gabulov have shown that they are capable of playing at the highest level. Sergei Ignashevich is the pivot around which the Russian defence rotates. The Berezutsky brothers- Alexei and Vasily are important players in defence too. Sergei Semak has earned a surprise recall to the provisional squad after impressing for Rubin Kazan this season. Russia tend to pack players in the middle to suffocate the opposition. Diniyar Binyaletdov, Konstantin Zyranov and co. will have their work cut out- Greece, Spain and Sweden have some extremely gifted midfield players. Dinamo Moscow striker Alexander Kerzhakov has been omitted. That means Dmitri Sychev, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Andrei Arshavin and Pavel Pogrebnyak will compete for the right to play upfront. Pogrebnyak and Arshavin have played key roles in Zenit St. Petersburg successful European campaign this reason- the former scored an incredible eleven goals in the competition.
Russian soccer is in the midst of a revolution. Zenit St. Petersburg's success at the UEFA Cup has shocked one and all. The Dick Advocaat managed team even beat Bayern Munich 4-0, and that is something few teams can boast of. Can Russia do well at Euro 2008? Will Hiddink prove to be the man with the Midas touch?
Watch live football with us to find out. The European Football Championship comes only once every four years- do not miss it!!
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