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Euro 2008

Rampant Russia make last-8 date with Dutch

  • Story Highlights
  • Russia defeat Sweden 2-0 to reach last eight of European Championship
  • Roman Pavlyuchenko scored in first half and Andrei Arshavin added second
  • Russia now have a date against the Netherlands on Saturday in Basel
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INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Rampant Russia rediscovered their flair with a goal in each half on Wednesday to beat Sweden 2-0 and advance to the European Championship quarterfinals.

Andrei Arshavin, center, is mobbed by team-mates after securing Russia's place in the quarterfinals.

Andrei Arshavin, center, is mobbed by team-mates after securing Russia's place in the quarterfinals.

Roman Pavlyuchenko scored in the first half and Andrei Arshavin, coming off a two-match suspension, made it 2-0 right after the break to set up a match against the Netherlands on Saturday in Basel.

Russia finished second behind Spain on six points in Group D, three ahead of Sweden.

The youthful Russians outpaced the experienced Swedes to qualify for the knockout stage for the first time since the break up of the Soviet Union.

Russia coach Guus Hiddink, who has maintained his record of reaching the knockout stage in every international tournament he has coached at, will now take on his home country having led them to the semifinals of the 1998 World Cup.

"This is a huge win for a side still under construction, with lots of young players and some experienced players," said Hiddink.

"It gives me real pleasure to work with them. In the course of the past three weeks these youngsters have learnt a lot."

For Sweden, who only needed a draw to advance, it was the first group stage exit at a major tournament since Euro 2000, but coach Lars Lagerback was gracious in defeat.

"I would like to congratulate the Russians, who really play joyful football," he said. "I think they saw rapidly where they could hurt us and they exploited our weaknesses perfectly."

Hiddink's move to pick Arshavin in his starting team paid off as the playmaker picked up a pass from Yuri Zhirkov in a fast Russian counterattack and scored with a right-footed shot in the 50th minute.

The goal stunned the Swedes, who had struggled to contain Russia's attack throughout the first half.

Pavlyuchenko had given Russia the lead in the 24th after being set up inside the box by Aleksandr Anyukov following a series of quick passes that ripped open the defense.

The Russians opened aggressively knowing they needed a win to stay alive in the tournament. Their pressure resulted in a string of corner kicks but no clear opportunities until Yuri Zhirkov's hard volley in the 21st went just outside Isaksson's left post.

Henrik Larsson had Sweden's best chance with a first-half header that hit the crossbar, but Russia nearly got its second goal in the 36th when Pavlyuchenko's shot also hit the woodwork.

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov headed the rebound to force goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson into a diving save.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev stopped shots from Fredrik Ljungberg and Nilsson as Sweden surged before the break.

"I'm tired and very disappointed," the 36-year-old Larsson said after the match. "We didn't have a whole lot of chances. I had one on the crossbar, I can't remember many more."

Russia piled up chances as the Swedes opened themselves up to dangerous counterattacks by pushing forward toward the end of the game. Konstantin Zyryanov almost added a third for Russia when his shot deflected off Sweden defender Petter Hansson to hit the post.

"I think we were too passive, especially in the first half," Lagerback added. "We tried to lift ourselves up in the second half, but then they scored an early goal and it became and an uphill battle."

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