The only rematch in the Soccer Betting Euro 2008 so far will take place in Thursday’s semifinal as Russia takes on Spain. The two teams met in group play when Spain routed Russia by a score of 4-1. Since that loss the Russians have turned it on with victories against Greece, Sweden and the Netherlands. One of the biggest reasons for the improved play for Russia has been the return of Andrei Arshavin, who missed the first two games due to suspension.
Euro 2008 Semifinal Betting Preview
Russia vs. Spain
Thursday, 2:45 pm Eastern – ESPN 2
Spain is -.5 goal (Even) with a total of 2.5 under (-150) at SBG Global.
Three-way line – Spain even, Russia +235, Draw +235
Spain has a high powered attack that has outscored teams in Euro 2008 but Russia doesn’t seem fazed by the offense. Russia didn’t back down from the high scoring Netherlands and doesn’t expect to slow down against Spain. “Russia will play their normal way. We don't play defensive football, we like to attack. But it doesn't all depend on us. Let's see how the Spaniards do.” Arshavin said, “Maybe it makes it harder for us that we play such an open kind of football, because our opponent knows how to counterattack and they have some fast players. But we need to play our way instead of adapting to the opposition.” Russia’s head coach Guus Hiddink has his team playing well but they might be without striker Ivan Saenko who has a foot injury.
Spain has been solid throughout Euro 2008. They are coming off a win over Italy on penalties. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas could be on the spot again after denying the Italians. “It's going to be a beautiful match because these two sides are both committed to attack, they share a football philosophy. Russia have impressed me.”
Both Spain and Russia have won the European Championship in the past but not for a long time. Russia won as the Soviet Union in 1960 and Spain won in 1961. Neither team has won since. The last time the two teams met in tournament action was at Euro 2004 when Spain won 1-0.
The game could come down to which offensive stars produce. The Russians have Arshavin while Spain has Fernando Torres and David Villa. The winner of Thursday’s semifinal match will play Germany for the Euro 2008 title on Sunday.
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