Hiddink - Almost a miracle

Russia coach delighted to beat home country in quarter-finals

Guus Hiddink felt Russia had produced 'almost a miracle' after beating Holland 3-1 to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

The master tactician put one over his home nation as Russia comprehensively outplayed the Dutch in Basel to set up a last-four clash with either Italy or Spain.

Hiddink, who has previously reached the semi-finals of the World Cup as coach of both Holland and South Korea, drooled over his current team's quarter-final display.

He believed his side were dominant in every department of the match and was delighted to see Russia rise to the challenge.


"It's unbelievable what they did tactically," Hiddink said. "To outplay tactically and physically the Dutch team is almost a miracle.

"I challenged the guys. Physically, tactically and technically we were better than the Dutch.

"Of course we realised we couldn't give away too many free-kicks 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 counter-attack they pressed for the winning goal."

Great happiness

Andrei Arshavin was the influential figure on the pitch in the win, having a hand in the first two goals before clinching the victory with the third late on in extra-time.

The playmaker, who missed the opening two games of the tournament through suspension, praised Hiddink for outsmarting the Dutch.

"One Dutch coach beat 11 talented Dutch players," said Arshavin.

"It's great happiness for me and for the whole of Russia. It was a hard game, but we can't complain.

"The main thing is we won. We expected Netherlands to play aggressively, but they seemed to stop before we did."