Spain takes care of business in the second half of its semifinal to set up a date with Germany in the Euro 2008 final.
In case you missed it, here is a brief recap of today’s semifinal contest:
SPAIN 3, RUSSIA 0: Xavi, Danny Guiza and David Silva each scored once in the second half as Spain found its stride to comfortably dispatch Russia and advance to the final of Euro 2008. Following a very cagey first half, Spain really got going after halftime and proved to be too much for Russia to handle.
MY ANALYSIS: I happened to be on my favorite European soccer message board last night, and one of the topics of conversation on there was about Cesc Fabregas.
The consensus from the peeps on this message board was that Fabregas should be starting for the Spanish. Iniesta and Xavi are both outstanding central midfielders, but the feeling on the board, which I agreed with, was that Spain had looked by far its most dangerous at Euro 2008 whenever Fabregas had been on the field.
Once again, coach Luis Aragones left Fabregas on the bench when Spain met Russsia in the semifinals, but a stroke of unexpected luck got the brilliant Arsenal star on the field.
You couldn’t have blamed Spain for fearing for the worst when David Villa, the leading goal scorer at Euro 2008, left with an injury in the 35th minute. However, the injury forced Aragones to bring on Fabregas, and what a substitution it proved to be.
Neither side had really got going over the opening 45 minutes, but that quickly changed once Fabregas got settled in. He manned the Spanish controls and was outstanding as Spain found the net three times in the second half to march on to the final.
Full marks to him.
I thought the other Spanish player who deserves high praise for his semifinal performance is defensive midfielder Marcos Senna. He had outstanding Russian star Andrei Arshavin in his pocket all night, and that proved to be hugely important.
Now it’s on to the final. Both Germany and Spain have had their moments at Euro 2008 ‘ Spain has shown more in my opinion over five games ‘ and we all wait to see whether this fabulous tournament can go out with a bang.
TODAY’S STAR MAN: Cesc Fabregas, Spain. Turned in a master-class display in the middle of the park to lead the Spanish to the European final. Fabregas assisted on two of Spain’s goal and made all the difference in the world after he came on for the injured David Villa late in the first half.
TODAY’S TOP GOAL: David Silva’s goal vs. Russia. This 82nd minute strike capped a fantastic second-half performance by the Spanish and clinched their semifinal victory. From the left flank, Cesc Fabregas squares the ball beautifully toward the middle, where Silva latches onto it and deposits it in the net.
Germany vs. Spain, ABC, 12:45 p.m.
For those of you who caught today’s action, what did you think of the proceedings? Any disagreements with my choice for player of the day or goal of the day?