Innsbruck, June 18:
Russia scored a goal in each half on Wednesday to beat Sweden 2-0 and advance to the Euro 2008 quarter-finals ahead of their opponent.
Roman Pavlyuchenko scored in the first half and Andrei Arshavin, coming off a two-match suspension, made it 2-0 right after the break to set up a match against the Netherlands on Saturday in Basel.
Russia finished second behind Spain on six points in Group D, three ahead of Sweden. Russia outpaced the experienced Swedes to qualify for the knockout stage for the first time since the break up of the Soviet Union. For Sweden, which only needed a draw to advance, it was the first group stage exit at a major tournament since Euro 2000.
Russia coach Guus Hiddink, who has maintained his record of reaching the knockout stage in every international tournament he has coached at, will now take on his home country, which he led to the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup.
Hiddinkâ€™s move to pick Arshavin in his starting team paid off as the playmaker picked up a pass from Yuri Zhirkov in a fast Russian counterattack and scored with a right-footed shot in the 50th minute. The goal stunned the Swedes, who had struggled to contain Russiaâ€™s attack throughout the first half. The Russians opened aggressively right from the kickoff, knowing they needed a win to stay alive in the tournament. Their pressure resulted in a string of corner kicks but no clear chances until Yuri Zhirkovâ€™s hard volley in the 21st went just outside Isakssonâ€™s left post.
Pavlyuchenko gave Russia the lead in the 24th after being set up inside the box by Aleksandr Anyukov following a series of quick passes that ripped open the defense. Henrik Larsson had Swedenâ€™s best chance with a first-half header that hit the crossbar, but Russia nearly got their second goal in the 36th when Pavlyuchenkoâ€™s shot hit the bar. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov headed the rebound to force goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson into a diving save.
Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev stopped shots from Fredrik Ljungberg and Nilsson as Sweden surged before the break. The Swedes opened themselves up to dangerous counterattacks as they sought to push forward toward the end of the second half.
Russia had several good chances, with Konstantin Zyryanov hitting the post after a deflection off Sweden defender Petter Hansson. Sweden won their opening group match 2-0 against defending champions Greece, but lost to Spain 2-1. Russia bounced back from a crushing 4-1 loss to Spain to send Greece home with a 1-0 win in the second match.