EURO 2008

Spain dominates Russia

Spain won 4-1 against Russia in the opening match of Euro 2008 Group D. Valencia forward David Villa notched the first hat-trick of the tournament while "Cesc" Fabregas gave Spain their fourth goal.


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David Villa notched the first hat-trick of the tournament to help Spain hammer Russia 4-1 in their Euro 2008 opener on Tuesday.


Villa grabbed his first when he steered the ball into an open goal after fellow striker Fernando Torres drew goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev out of his net in the 20th minute.


The 26-year-old Villa added the second before halftime, stroking the ball home after being put through by Andres Iniesta, before making it 3-0 when he tucked in a low shot after jinking past a defender on 75 minutes.


Russia pulled one back with a header from Roman Pavlyuchenko before substitute Cesc Fabregas dived to nod Spain's fourth goal from close range in injury time after more good work by the inspirational Villa.


"It was great to get three goals and it is a good start for the team," Villa told reporters.


"It was important to win this one but we have to remember it is only the first of three (Group D) games."


Spain, who beat Russia 1-0 in their opening match at Euro 2004, made a confident start to the tie under stormy skies at the Tivoli Neu stadium.


They quickly settled into their patient short passing game and had a couple of early chances, Torres sending a shot skidding wide in the eighth minute and Villa scooping an effort over the bar.


Russia also threatened with Yuri Zhirkov and Pavlyuchenko proving a handful for Spain's back four.


Spain, however, broke the deadlock when Torres raced on to a 30-metre pass from Joan Capdevila.




The striker made the most of a lucky bounce as he tried to beat defender Denis Kolodin before setting up Villa.


Russia almost equalised two minutes later when Konstantin Zyryanov fired a shot against the post.


Torres had a couple of half chances to extend Spain's lead but it was live-wire Valencia marksman Villa who went on to steal the spotlight.


"I am happy but I think we were a bit fortunate in the first half," said Spain coach Luis Aragones. "They pressed us hard but we got that first goal on the break.


"Villa is a brilliant player but so is Torres when he's got space.


Russia coach Guus Hiddink said: "We were caught on the counter attack by our own mistakes.


"We were punished from very naive situations. That's a harsh lesson and I hope we can learn very fast from our mistakes."


For the first time in the tournament no yellow cards were shown.

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