Salzburg, June 14:
Russia beat Greece to send the defending champions crashing out of Euro 2008 and set up a deciding final game against Sweden for a place in the last eight.
Konstatin Zyryanov scored the winner from close range in the 34th minute after Sergei Semak cashed in on Greek keeper Antonis Nikopolidisâ€™s mistake. Angelos Charisteas wasted Greeceâ€™s best chances either side of the interval. Roman Pavlyuchenko could have added to Russiaâ€™s tally, but their win sent Spain into the last eight.
Konstantin Zyrianovâ€™s first-half strike from close range proved decisive, although both sides missed numerous opportunities in an unexpectedly captivating encounter. It was billed as a match between the two worst teams at Euro 2008, and a criminally dull way to spend two hours of Saturday night.
Instead, Greece and Russia put on one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament so far, particularly in a frantic second half in which both sides created â€” and spurned â€” a host of chances.
The holders finally came out of their ultra-defensive shell as Otto Rehhagel switched to an adventurous 3-4-3 formation â€” although too late to stay in the competition. Russia played technically-excellent football, driven on by their wonderful left wing-back Yuri Zhirkov â€” constantly leaving gaps at the back on which their opponents could not capitalise.