Spain v Russia, 12 June 2004

Score1-0 to Spain
RefereeUrs Meier
CompetitionUEFA European Championship Finals Group A
VenueEstadio Algarve, Faro-Loulé
Attendance30,305
Kick-off: 7.45pm local Assistant referees: Rudolf Käppeli (Switzerland) Francesco Buragina (Switzerland) Fourth official: Kim Milton Nielsen (Denmark) Man of the Match: Vicente (Spain) An inspired substitution from coach Iñaki Sáez helped Spain get their UEFA EURO 2004 campaign off to a perfect start as Juan Carlos Valerón came off the bench to score with virtually his first touch and seal three important points in Group A. With Greece unexpectedly defeating hosts Portugal earlier in the day, both sides knew victory would make qualification for the quarter-finals a distinct possibility. However, in the event Valerón's cool finish on the hour proved enough, while Russia ended with ten men as Roman Sharonov was dismissed for a second yellow card late on. Spain lined up as expected after David Albelda shook off a muscle strain to link up with Valencia CF team-mate Rubén Baraja in midfield, while Joseba Etxeberria, Raúl González and Vicente formed an attacking trio behind Fernando Morientes. Russia adopted a more cautious approach, with coach Georgy Yartsev opting for Dmitri Bulykin as a lone striker, allowing winger Rolan Gusev to come into a five-man midfield. Spain started at a ferocious pace and had Russia's reorganised defence under pressure as early as the third minute. Baraja's pinpoint pass found Raúl in space in the penalty area but the striker shot wide of the far post. Russia were soon stretched again as Raúl threaded a pass through for Morientes but Sharonov blocked his left-foot shot. Spain continued to dominate territorially but Russia slowly gained in confidence and mounted their first serious attack on 16 minutes. Marat Izmailov's right-wing cross drifted over Carles Puyol to the ummarked Bulykin, but his tame volley was blocked. Izmailov was Russia's brightest player in the opening stages and he threatened again minutes later, flashing a long-range shot wide of Iker Casillas' far post. Vicente's influence on the left wing grew as the half went on and his darting burst and precise cross set up a glorious chance for Morientes on 36 minutes. The striker's header was brilliantly saved by Sergei Ovchinnikov and although the rebound fell to Etxeberria, the winger miscued from close range. The chance brought the game to life and Dmitri Alenichev almost opened the scoring at the other end seconds later, jinking between Carlos Marchena and Puyol but Casillas was equal to his chip. Russia finished the half on top and Casillas had to be alert once more as Alenichev cut into the box after a quickly-taken corner and forced the goalkeeper to parry at the near post. Yartsev introduced playmaker Vladislav Radimov for Gusev at the break, but the second half started in similar vein to the first with a tide of Spain pressure. Etxeberria twice escaped his marker on the right, first cutting back for Baraja whose shot was blocked, then delivering a teasing cross that was headed wide of the far post by an unmarked Raúl. Spain made their first changes just before the hour, with Valerón and Xabi Alonso replacing Morientes and Baraja – it took Valerón 36 seconds to make the breakthrough. Puyol burst past Dmitri Sennikov and delivered a low cross that Valerón coolly worked on to his left foot to score from close range. Russia reacted by sending on Dmitri Sychev as a second striker but Spain were suddenly playing with more fluency. Raúl might have doubled the lead, shrugging off two defenders before shooting just over from 20 metres while Vicente had two late chances, but La Roja had already done enough.

1  Spain

Manager: Iñaki Sáez

0  Russia

Manager: Georgiy Yartsev

Goals:

Valerón 59 G

Goals:

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas
Defender Marchena
Defender Puyol
Defender Raúl Bravo
Midfielder Albelda
Midfielder Helguera
Midfielder Rubén Baraja
Midfielder Vicente
Forward Etxeberria
Forward Morientes
Forward Raúl (captain)

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov
Defender Vadim Evseev
Defender Dmitri Sennikov
Defender Roman Sharonov
Midfielder Evgeny Aldonin
Midfielder Dmitri Alenichev
Midfielder Rolan Gusev
Midfielder Marat Izmailov
Midfielder Alexandr Mostovoi
Midfielder Alexei Smertin (captain)
Forward Dmitry Bulykin

Substitutions:

Xabi Alonso for Rubén Baraja 58
Valerón for Morientes 58
Fernando Torres for Raúl 77

Substitutions:

Vladislav Radimov for Rolan Gusev 46
Dmitry Sychev for Evgeny Aldonin 67
Andrey Karyaka for Marat Izmailov 73

Cards:

Rubén Baraja 43 Y
Marchena 66 Y
Albelda 85 Y

Cards:

Rolan Gusev 12 Y
Roman Sharonov 18 Y
Alexei Smertin 20 Y
Evgeny Aldonin 32 Y
Roman Sharonov 88 Y
Roman Sharonov 88 R
Vladislav Radimov 90 Y

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia
Goalkeeper Cañizares
Defender Capdevila
Defender César Martín
Defender Juanito
Midfielder Gabri
Midfielder Joaquín
Midfielder Valerón
Midfielder Xabi Alonso
Midfielder Xavi
Forward Luque
Forward Fernando Torres

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev
Goalkeeper Viacheslav Malafeev
Defender Alexey Bugayev
Midfielder Vladimir Bystrov
Midfielder Andrey Karyaka
Midfielder Dmitri Loskov
Midfielder Vladislav Radimov
Midfielder Igor Semshov
Forward Dmitry Sychev