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
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.