BASLE, Switzerland (CNN) -- Russia joined Germany and Turkey in the semifinals of Euro 2008 with a 3-1 upset win over the Netherlands after extra time in Basle on Saturday night.
Roman Pavlyuchenko scored the Russian opener in Basle.
Goals in the second half of added time from substitute Dmitri Torbinski and the magical Andrei Arshavin capped a triumphant night for the Russians.
Roman Pavlyuchenko put Guus Hiddink's men ahead in the the 56th minute and they looked to be going through in normal time until Ruud van Nistelrooy stole an 86th minute equalizer for the Dutch.
Hiddink's men will face either Italy or Spain in the last four after confounding the form book to put out the Dutch.
Marco van Basten's team had gone into the quarterfinal match off the back of three convincing victories, but failed to reproduce their captivating football of the group stages and could have no complaints about the outcome.
Dutchman Hiddink had said he would be considered a trator if he masterminded their downfall but paid compliments to his team who have been transformed since a 4-1 defeat to Spain in their opening match.
"I don't know how far we have come since our preparation for the first match but usually the Dutch are a team who one cannot outdo tactically, technically or physically, but we did on all three counts," Hiddink told ITV Sport.
"Of course we realised we couldn't give away too many freekicks to them but as you get tired you tend to commit more fouls.
"However, my players responded really well and instead of relying on the counterattack they pressed for the winning goal."
Russia were the more enterprising side from the start at the St. Jakob Park Stadium and striker Pavlyuchenko headed over when unmarked from an Igor Semshov cross.
The Dutch may not have been producing the free flowing football of their qualifying group but offered a threat at set pieces with Rafael van der Vaart producing a curling effort from the right which van Nistelrooy should have converted.
Both sides were relying on the counter attack in a cagey tactical affair and just after the half hour mark a classic Russian break saw Arshavin bear down on the Dutch goal to send in a low curler which Edwin van der Sar tipped around the post.
Manchester United keeper van der Sar had to use all his near two meter height to tip over a thunderous effort from defender Denis Kolodin from the ensuing corner.
Moments later Kolodin sent in another long range effort from fully 40 meters which nearly dipped under the crossbar.
Van Nistelrooy was generally kept quiet in the first half but his sharp turn and shot from the right had to be neatly saved by Igor Akinfeev while Kolodin nearly handed the Dutch the opener near half-time as his sloppy pass found van der Vaart who shot straight at the Russian keeper.
The second half was 11 minutes old when Arshavin found Sergei Semak whose cross from the right was neatly turned in by Pavlyuchenko.
The Dutch keeper then had to be alert to keep out Pavlyuchenko for a second goal and Russia looked to be holding on for victory until van Nistelrooy struck in typical style with five minutes remaining.
His tireless Real Madrid teammate Wesley Sneijder swung in a free kick from the left which the striker converted from close range at the far post.
Extra time again saw the Russians pressing with the most menace and in the first period Pavlyuchenko hit the crossbar with a snap shot.
The Russians kept pouring forward against a tiring Dutch side and Arshavin escaped down the left to send over a teasing cross which Torbinski turned in at the far post.
Arshavin fittingly sealed victory as he received the ball from a throw-in and somehow beat van der Sar at the near post.
"We didn't play football, and never got into the game," van Basten admitted after the final whistle.
"Normally we should have been in better shape than the Russians. We didn't see that," he told the Associated Press.
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed|