I have to give it to both teams – they play good football. Yes, the Russians gave up four goals, but their creativity in finding space in the last third with close one touch passing was fun to watch. And they should have had three goals themselves instead of the pin ball header off the corner that they scored on. They carved Spain up time and again but their biggest issue was giving Spain too much time and space on the ball and lax marking around the box.
Having said that, Spain played really well in the second half and their passing and movement in midfield is great. I think they will have a much tougher time against the Greeks and the Swedes who will crowd them and harass them much more than the Russians. Also, putting a true holding midfielder in front of the back four to double the striker on the ball will slow Spain up a lot.
Villa is the man of the match by far.
And finally, as per CH12’s crystal ball, both teams scored in the same match!
Pre-game prediction: Spain 2 Russia 1
Result: Spain 4 Russia 1
Scorers: David Villa (3), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Roman Pavluchenko (Russia)
Two minutes to kickoff. Can’t wait to see Henrik Larsson play…