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Sweden and Russia brace for final group battle

Latest update : 2008-06-18

In Group D, Spain faces the already-eliminated title-holders Greece on Wednesday, for a game with nothing at stake. The other match, between Sweden and Russia, will be decisive for the last entry to the quarter finals.

Click here to see all results and comments from our Observers.

 

 

VIENNA - Russia face Sweden on Wednesday with a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 at stake for the winners and the tournament scrapheap for the losers.

 

The Group D game at Innsbruck will decide the last of the eight quarter-finalists, with a fixture against Group C winners Netherlands the unenviable reward on Saturday in Basel.

 

Though there is little to separate them in footballing terms, the odds are balanced in Sweden's favour, since a more favourable goal difference in the standings mean that Lars Lagerback's men only need a draw to go through.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has scored two of Sweden's three goals to date, is expected to lead the line, supported by the neat footwork and vast experience of Henrik Larsson.

 

Russia's ace up their sleeve could finally be played at the game at the Tivoli Neu stadium when playmaker Andrei Arshavin, who did so much to help Zenit St Petersburg's successful UEFA Cup campaign, is available after a two-match suspension.

 

In Wednesday's other match, which also kicks off at 1845 GMT, group winners Spain will take on an eliminated Greece side with only pride to play for in Salzburg after the surprise Euro 2004 winners suffered two consecutive defeats.

 

Changes are expected on both sides, though particularly for Spain, who are preparing for a quarter-final on Sunday in Vienna against world champions Italy.

 

The Italians emerged as the victors on Tuesday of a three-way battle for the runners-up place behind the Dutch in Group C after Roberto Donadoni's men beat their 2006 World Cup final opponents France 2-0 in Zurich.

 

Romania went out by the same margin to a reshuffled Dutch side in Berne.

 

Date created : 2008-06-18

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