Russia v Spain, 10 June 2008

Score4-1 to Spain
RefereeKonrad Plautz
CompetitionUEFA European Championship Finals Group D
VenueTivoli Neu Stadion, Innsbruck
Attendance30,772
Kick-off: 6.00pm local Assistant referees: Egon Bereuter (Austria) Markus Mayr (Austria) Fourth official: Grzegorz Gilewski (Poland) Man of the Match: David Villa (Spain) A scintillating David Villa hat-trick gave Spain a clear-cut 4-1 victory over Russia in their first outing at UEFA EURO 2008 and confirmed the immense power of his partnership with Fernando Torres. In a high-quality Group D encounter, Russia provided moments to indicate that Luis Aragonés's side may still be vulnerable at the back and gained consolation with Roman Pavlyuchenko's 86th-minute header. But Villa's second goal in particular was a stunning team move which may already be one of the goals of the tournament. Only the seventh player in finals history to score three in a game, the 26-year-old then utterly stamped his class on the match, crossing for Xavi Hernández to volley and substitute Cesc Fàbregas to head in the fourth in stoppage time. Torres has always asked for a quick supply of the ball at international level and in the 20th minute he got it. Courtesy of a Joan Capdevila interception and a notable right-footed pass from the left-back, the Liverpool FC forward was left one on one with his marker. Torres used good upper body strength to pressurise Denis Kolodin and when the Spaniard skipped clear he allowed goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to try and dive at his feet before slipping the ball to the right, into the path of Villa who finished unerringly. Within seconds Russia nearly equalised. Their love of overlapping full-back play had already caused havoc in the jumpy Spain back line, but instead of Aleksandr Anyukov this time it was Dmitri Sychev whose right-wing cross drifted, agonisingly, across Carles Puyol, Marcos Senna and even Andrés Iniesta before Konstantin Zyryanov cracked the ball off the post. Instead of daunting Spain, it seemed the players in red took their luck as an indication that this was their night. Within six minutes of Villa's first goal, he and Torres had created three outstanding opportunities – two of which needed smart blocks by Akinfeev. Russia, for their part, were fighting to impose themselves, repeatedly catching Iniesta in possession, and Pavlyuchenko hit the bar with a left-footed shot though referee Konrad Plautz had already called a foul. Villa closed a sparkling 45 minutes with Spain's second, however, following a brilliant move. Zyryanov attempted an ambitious pass across the Spain box and David Silva ran to retrieve it, sparking a lightning-quick passing movement through Silva, Capdevila and Iniesta which left Villa sprinting into the box where he slipped the ball between Akinfeev's legs. Vladimir Bystrov's introduction made an impact as Russia sought a way back, and his header from Zyryanov's cross brought Iker Casillas into action before Diniyar Bilyaletdinov shot narrowly wide. However, Spain were irrepressible. Fàbregas came on for Torres as Aragonés chose to rest his striker and Villa almost had his hat-trick in the 66th minute but was prevented by a superb Anyukov tackle – the forward did not have to wait much longer. With 15 minutes left, he turned Roman Shirokov inside out and finished expertly with his right foot. It was just that Russia's commitment to attack eventually won some reward in the final minutes. Zyryanov, culpable for the second goal but Guus Hiddink's best player, took a corner which Shirokov nodded on and Pavlyuchenko headed in at the back post. Even then Villa had the last word, creating Spain's fourth and Fàbregas's first for his country.

1  Russia

Manager: Guus Hiddink

4  Spain

Manager: Luis Aragonés

Goals:

Roman Pavlyuchenko 86 G

Goals:

David Villa 20 G
David Villa 45 G
David Villa 75 G
Cesc Fabregas 90 G

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev
Defender/Midfielder Roman Shirokov
Defender/Midfielder Yuri Zhirkov
Midfielder Denis Kolodin
Midfielder Sergei Semak (captain)
Midfielder Igor Semshov
Midfielder Konstantin Zyryonov
Midfielder/Forward Diniyar Bilyaletdinov
Forward Dmitry Sychev

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas (captain)
Defender Joan Capdevila
Defender Carlos Marchena
Defender Carlos Puyol
Defender Sergio Ramos
Midfielder David Silva
Midfielder Andres Iniesta
Midfielder Marcos Senna
Midfielder Xavi
Forward Fernando Torres
Forward David Villa

Substitutions:

Vladimir Bystrov for Dmitry Sychev 46
Dmitri Torbinsky for Igor Semshov 57
Roman Adamov for Vladimir Bystrov 70

Substitutions:

Cesc Fabregas for Fernando Torres 54
Xabi Alonso for David Villa 77
Santi Cazorla for Andres Iniesta 77

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov
Goalkeeper Viacheslav Malafeev
Defender Renat Yanbaev
Midfielder Vladimir Bystrov
Midfielder Oleg Ivanov
Midfielder Dmitri Torbinsky
Forward Roman Adamov
Forward Ivan Saenko

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Andres Palop
Goalkeeper Pepe Reina
Defender Álvaro Arbeloa
Defender Juanito
Defender Fernando Navarro
Midfielder Rubén de la Red
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas
Midfielder Raúl Albiol
Midfielder Santi Cazorla
Midfielder Xabi Alonso
Forward Daniel Guiza

Comments:

- The 11 players who started the match for Russia had a total of four European Championship matches between them, the fewest of any team at Euro 2008 who were also present four years ago.

Comments:

- David Villa became the first player to score a hat-trick for Spain in a European Championship match. It was only the eighth hat-trick in the history of the European Championship and the first since Euro 2000. - David Villa was the third player to score three goals in a game for Spain at a major tournament. - Cesc Fabregas scored his first ever goal for Spain. - This 4-1 win was Spain's biggest at a European Championship. They had never previously won a match at this tournament by more than one goal. Spain increased their unbeaten streak to 17 matches and have won every match so far in 2008.