Russia dump out Sweden

Pavlyuchenko and Arshavin net as Sweden bow out

Russia are through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 following a fully-deserved 2-0 success over Sweden.

Guus Hiddink's side, who needed to win to set up a clash against Holland, were on the front foot from the off, while Sweden seemed happy to try and contain Russia.

They were rewarded for their enterprising play in the 24th minute when Roman Pavlyuchenko slotted home following a fine flowing move.

Veteran striker Henrik Larsson was unlucky not to level matters when his glancing header beat Igor Akinfeev but not the crossbar.

Russia wrapped up the contest shortly after half-time when a fine counter-attack resulted in the impressive Andrei Arshavin delivering the killer blow.


This was the type of attacking performance that saw England gripped by panic at the Luzhniki Stadium last October when the cracks of Steve McClaren's reign started to open up.

Pavlyuchenko led to England's downfall that night and he tested Olof Mellberg and his fellow Swedish defenders just as he did against Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand.

However, the creative force was just behind the Spartak Moscow striker, with Arshavin playing in the hole and causing problems with the angles of his runs and passes.

Arshavin, who has been linked with Manchester City and Newcastle, had been banned for two matches of the finals after he was dismissed in the final qualifier for kicking out. With their attack bolstered, Russia made all the early running.

Had Konstantin Zyryanov not positioned himself in the way of team-mate Igor Semshov after Diniyar Bilyaletdinov opened up Sweden with a flick, Russia would have had a clear sight of goal in the early stages.

Then Arshavin took centre stage, heading wide from Aleksandr Anyukov's cross from the right and finding himself in a similar position when Pavlyuchenko crossed low from the same flank. Neither finishes got enough purchase.

He then went wide from long range and almost embarrassed Andreas Isaksson when he sliced a cross to the far post and the Manchester City goalkeeper was back just in time to tip over.

From the resulting corner, Yuri Zhirkov fizzed a volley just wide.

Predictably, Arshavin started the move when Russia took the lead in the 24th minute, his ball down the right weighted perfectly for Zyryanov.


The ball was shifted inside to Anyukov and again to Pavlyuchenko, who provided a cool finish despite Fredrik Stoor's last-ditch slide. With the quarter-finals in sight, Hiddink punched the air in celebration.

Russia were rampant but Sweden offered a reminder of their threat when Larsson looped a header onto the frame of the goal.

Just before the break Freddie Ljungberg forced a save when he latched onto Zlatan Ibrahimovic's flick, while Mikael Nilsson also tested Igor Akinfeev when he raced through. But it was Russia who were providing sustained pressure.

Pavlyuchenko struck the woodwork 10 minutes before the break and Zyryanov saw the rebound clawed away by Isaksson. Bilyaletdinov also wasted chances to extend the lead.

The second goal came in the 50th minute following another sweeping move. Russia went from defence to attack in seconds, culminating with Arshavin sliding in to finish off Zhirkov's cross.

Sweden refused to throw in the towel and they pushed players forward when Russia were not creating attacks. Mellberg had a decent chance but headed over from a corner.

Russia also threatened to add more goals, and Zyryanov struck the post with 10 minutes remaining. The only sour note for Arshavin was a booking for a trip.