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26 Jun, 2008 19:27

Spain dump Russia out of Euro-2008

Russia are out of Euro-2008 after losing 3-0 to Spain in the semi-final in Austria. The Spaniards were supreme in front of goal, scoring three times in the second half. Despite the disappointment, Russian fans are holdin

Xavi Hernandez scored Spain’s first goal just a few minutes into the second half, deflecting the ball into the net from six yards.

The game looked all over when Danny Guiza got the second, chesting the ball down before lofting it over goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

David Silva’s third made sure Spain would meet Germany in Sunday’s final at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna.

Russia weren't helped by the dreadful conditions in Austria. It poured with rain throughout the game, making it difficult to play on the slick surface. 

The defeat brings to an end a remarkable tournament for Russia's footballers and their coach Guus Hiddink. They were written off as rank outsiders at the start - but stylish wins against Greece and Sweden changed perceptions. The return of playmaker Andrey Arshavin from suspension was a turning point.  His uncanny ability to read a game and play unexpected passes catapulted Russia into a different league.  The team's all-round performance in the 3-1 win against The Netherlands in the quarter-finals will be remembered as one of the games of the tournament.

Spain last won the European title in 1964. They ended their run of five straight quarter-final defeats by beating Italy on penalties on Sunday.

Thousands of Russian fans travelled to Austria for the game, stripping Vienna's sports shops of red, white and blue merchandise. Stores reported running out of Russian flags and replica shirts days ago.

At home, bars and clubs were crammed with fans watching the game on big screens. More than 4,000 police officers were on duty in the capital Moscow to ensure there was no trouble. 

Earlier, retailers reported a brisk trade in Russian flags as it became the must-have accessory for cars.