With the end of the cold war and break up of the Soviet Union, the Russians have not been in the news as much. No more wall to tear down. Now in the movies you don’t see the enemy as the Red Army of Russia but some kind of mid east terrorist.
Russia is a country that’s still figuring itself out it seems, still figuring out what to do with all their natural resources and expansive territory, all the oil and vodka. But the Russians are back. Back in the sphere of the world’s game, and a man named Andrei Arshavin is leading the charge. This is a weak intro, but you get the idea, Russian soccer players will light up the transfer boards and end up wearing the jerseys of a number of La Liga, EPL and Serie A clubs.
Andrei currently plays for Zenit St. Petersburg and led them to the UEFA Cup title, but his explosion on the Euro stage has all the pundits talking about what big club will scoop him up for next season. He has said he wants to leave Zenit as well.
Arshavin, has both speed and quickness, and he was a nightmare for the Dutch team as they fell 3-1 to the Russian side. He’s skillfulness got him to the byline late in overtime and he crossed to the far post where Torbinksi barely snuck in his foot to put the ball home. Torbinksi just got his foot in, as in he was barely able to avoid colliding with the post. At first it seemed like Arshavin had simply crossed the ball into the net, but there was Torbinski. A dog pile ensued, with Torbinski at the bottom of the pile as the Russian’s looked to have secured the win. The cameras were able to capture the face of Torbinski at the bottom of the pile, his eyes wild with enthusiasm.
Sort of mafia like in their determination – some have said their endurance enabled them to hold off the Dutch and gave them the edge in overtime.
To top it all off Arshavin scored off a throw-in in the closing minutes, a deflection putting the ball through the legs of Van Der Sar after he’d darted past two defenders. The victory was sealed.
With Euro 2008 now at the semifinal stage, and the Russian’s set to face Spain, Arshavin could have two more games yet to raise the stacks of cash being put together to render his services.
Extra: Guus Hiddink wasn’t concerned about being named a ‘traitor’ back in his homeland of the Netherlands. I’m not sure what to think exactly. Do you honor your country and choose not to coach a team that could face said country? Choose not to coach national teams of other countries but just club teams to avoid this potential conflict?
For Hiddink, who steered South Korea into the semifinals of the World Cup in 2002, he’s all about coaching good soccer and giving his players the chance to win big titles. Don’t think you can fault him for that, but there’s a bunch of fans in orange who wish he wouldn’t.