Andrew Antontsev: Euro 2008, Russia v. The Netherlands

I think for Russia our best memory of the Euros is simply Euro 2008. Russia qualified to Euros from a pretty hard group and some miracles. They were in a group with Croatia and England. The famous England squad that failed to beat Croatia at Wembley and lost their place at Euros to us.

In Euro’s we got in a decent group with Spain (favourites of the tournament), Greece (winners of previous Euro), and a good Sweden side. We were missing Andrei Arshavin during our first 2 games at the Euro's due to his ban in the qualifiers and we lost to Spain in our first match pretty hard. Then we won 1-0 against Greece due to a Sergei Semak goal and we were fighting Sweden for progress from our group in the last game.

Arshavin came back and he smashed it. We won 2-0 pretty comfortably and got out of the group. It was already a success. After that we got matched against the Netherlands, who won their group of France, Italy and Romania easily.

They were the best team at the tournament, they played amazingly well and they were favourites vs us. 99% chance for them, 1% for us. And we won 3-1. It was sensational. We were winning most of the 2nd half 1-0 due to a Roman Pavluchenko goal, then Ruud Van Nistelrooy equalised 5 minutes before 2nd half ended. And in Extra Time we looked fired up, while Netherlands felt exhausted.

First - Torbinsky scored after a cross in 112th minute and then - Arshavin scored between legs of Van Der Sar and made it 3-1. Whole nation celebrated it like we won a World Cup. People didn't go to sleep and all cities celebrated the whole night and afterwards. In the Semis we lost to Spain again, but we didn't care anymore.

The tournament as a whole was a success for us which is what mattered to Russia due to the memories the team created on the pitch.

Memory added on June 23, 2021

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