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Spain cruises past Russia
by Ridge Mahoney, June 27th, 2008 7AM

TAGS:  european championship


[SPAIN-RUSSIA REPORT CARD] Despite losing top tournament scorer David Villa to a muscle strain in the first half and a poor showing by forward partner Fernando Torres, Spain pumped in three goals while smothering Russia to win, 3-0, in Vienna to book a final date with Germany on Sunday (2:30 pm ET on ESPN).

Xavi Hernandez stabbed Andres Iniesta's cross/shot past Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev five minutes into the second half for a 1-0 lead, and Cesc Fabregas, who had replaced Villa in the 34th minute, provided passes that substitute Daniel Guiza and David Silva put away for the goals that clinched Spain's first European Championship final appearance in 24 years.

Spain's vigorous defensive work limited Russia to just one shot on goal and completely neutralized catalyst Andrei Arshavin, who seldom found the room and angles to run at opponents with the ball.

He had missed the 4-1 Spain win in the group phase through suspension, but didn't have much more effect in this match.

Spain Player Ratings
6 Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) 81/0
7 Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) 38/4
6 Carlos Marchena (Valencia) 46/2
6 Carles Puyol (Barcelona) 65/1
5 Joan Capdevila (Villarreal) 22/3
8 Andres Iniesta (Barcelona) 28/5
7 Marcos Senna (Villarreal) 15/0
6 Xavi (Barcelona) 62/7
6 David Silva (Valencia) 18/3
4 Fernando Torres (Liverpool) 53/16
5 David Villa (Valencia) 35/18
7 Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) 31/1
7 Daniel Guiza (Real Mallorca) 7/2
6 Xabi Alonso (Liverpool) 46/1

Russia Player Ratings
6 Igor Akinfeyev (CSKA Moscow) 24/0
3 Alexander Anyukov (Zenit St. Petersburg) 34/1
5 Vasili Berezutski (CSKA Moscow) 31/1
3 Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow) 39/3
5 Yuri Zhirkov (CSKA Moscow) 21/0
4 Sergei Semak (Rubin Kazan) 51/4
4 Konstantin Zyryanov (Zenit St. Petersburg) 15/2
4 Igor Semshov (Dynamo Moscow) 89/0
3 Ivan Saenko (Nuremberg) 9/0
3 Andrei Arshavin (Zenit St. Petersburg) 35/13
5 Roman Pavlyuchenko (Spartak Moscow) 20/9
4 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Lok. Moscow) 25/1
5 Dmitry Sychev (Lok. Moscow) 41/15

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