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How the impish Arshavin became Russia's danger man

Published on June 25, 2008 by in Euro

Wednesday June 25, 2008
Luke Harding in Moscow, guardian.co.uk

Two Dutch coaches have helped the previously immature Andrei Arshavin gain the international recognition his talent deserves

Andrei Arshavin (Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

It has been one of the great enigmas of Euro 2008. Why has a forward of the quality of Andrei Arshavin, Russia’s exquisitely gifted playmaker, not previously attracted international recognition?

Victory for Russia on Thursday night against Spain would be likely to confirm 27-year-old Arshavin as the player of the tournament. This would follow his pivotal role in Russia’s 3-1 demolition of Holland during the quarter-finals and their 2-0 mobbing of Sweden.

In fact, Russian sports journalists identified Arshavin as a world-class player a long time ago – in 2004. But several factors conspired to prevent Arshavin from reaching his current inspirational greatness, they suggest. These include Russia’s failure to progress at major tournaments.
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Profile: Fernando Cavenaghi

Published on June 24, 2008 by in Argentina, Profile

goal.com

Steven Jones charts the rise and rise of Fernando Cavenaghi…

Fernando Cavenaghi  (AP Photo)

The export of players from Argentina to Europe has created a modern day footballing gold trade. Argentinean clubs are forced to sell their best players to balance the books which enables European clubs to reap the rewards; resulting in some of the greatest players in modern day history plying their trade in Europe’s most elite leagues.
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EURO 2008 — Tactical preview of Germany v Turkey

Published on June 24, 2008 by in Euro, Germany

By Mike Collett

Turkish midfielder Hamit Altintop and German midfielder Michael Ballack (DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)

BASEL, June 23 (Reuters) – A look at the likely formations, strengths and weaknesses of Germany and Turkey who meet in the semi-final of Euro 2008 at St Jakob Park on Wednesday (1845 GMT).

FORMATIONS

Germany coach Joachim Loew, back on the bench after his one match banishment to the stands by UEFA, will have to decide whether to stick with the 4-5-1 formation he used against Portugal, or revert to his favoured 4-4-2.

Playing five in midfield meant he could give a much freer role to Michael Ballack, who was devastating in attack. Loew must be tempted to stick with the same strategy.

Turkey coach Fatih Terim’s hand will be forced by what players he has available, but is likely to also play 4-4-2 although who fills those positions is the subject of some conjecture because he has so many injuries and suspensions to deal with.
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Masoud Shojaei joins Javad Nekounam in La Liga

Published on June 23, 2008 by in Iran, Osasuna

6/23/2008
Afshin Afshar, lastkick.com

Masoud Shojaei

Spanish club Osasuna announced the signing of Iran midfielder Masoud Shojaei earlier today.

Shojaei who is an offensive midfielder has made 15 appearances for Iran’s senior side. He comes to Osasuna as a free agent since his contract with the UAE side Al Sharjah had expired.
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PREVIEW — Germany, Spain will seek to reimpose order

Published on June 23, 2008 by in Euro, Germany

By Kevin Fylan

Germany’s team , rear row from left, Christoph Metzelder, Jens Lehmann, Per Mertesacker, Mario Gomez, Michael Ballack, and front row from left, Lukas Podolski, Arne Friedrich, Torsten Frings, Clemens Fritz, Philipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

TENERO, Switzerland, June 23 (Reuters) – Three times winners Germany and heavily fancied Spain will try to impose belated order on a tournament that has defied logic when they meet outsiders Turkey and Russia in the Euro 2008 semi-finals.

After a quarter-final round that saw three of the four group winners eliminated along with world champions Italy, Germany look best placed to restore the traditional balance of power against escape artists Turkey in Basel on Wednesday.
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ANALYSIS — Spain inflict more penalty misery on Italy

Published on June 23, 2008 by in Euro, Italy, Spain

By Mitch Phillips

(From 2ndL) Italian defender Fabio Grosso, forward Alessandro Del Piero, midfielder Mauro Camoranesi, defender Gianluca Zambrotta and forward Luca Toni (DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)

VIENNA, June 22 (Reuters) – For two teams with such painful memories of penalties Spain and Italy showed precious little desire to avoid them on Sunday but few could argue with Cesc Fabregas when he described his side’s win as “football justice”.

A deadly dull 120 minutes provided no goals and precious little entertainment but that hardly mattered to the delirious Spanish fans when substitute Fabregas scored the decisive kick in Spain’s 4-2 shootout triumph.
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Three victories in a row for Iran

Published on June 22, 2008 by in Iran

6/22/2008
the-afc.com

Team Melli vs. Kuwait

TEHRAN – Iran ended their Group Five campaign undefeated after they downed Kuwait 2-0 at Azadi Stadium on Sunday to register their third successive qualification victory.

Javad Nekounam and Gholamreza Rezaei were both on target to ensure Iran, who had already booked their place in the final phase of qualifying, finished top of the table.
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Spain defeat Italy on penalties to make Euro semi-finals

Published on June 22, 2008 by in Euro, Italy, Spain

6/22/2008

David Villa  (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

VIENNA (AFP) – Spain beat Italy 4-2 on penalties here on Sunday to reach the Euro 2008 semi-finals and in so doing break a number of painful hoodoos.

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas saved penalties from Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Di Natale before Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas buried the winning spot-kick after the match had ended 0-0 after extra-time.
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