Van der Sar fails to delay International retirement
By Andrew Cuff
Saturday 21 Jun 2008 22:00:00
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The third quarter final proved to be an exciting game of attacking and counter-attacking football. The Netherlands who came out of the group stages a favourite to progress to the semi finals were challenged by a revived Russian attack, this made life very difficult for Van Der Sar. Arshavin returning to the Russian team proved to be the spark of enthusiasm the Russians so desperately needed to revive their Euro dream. The Dutch started off favourites but the second half was dominated by the Russians who were the first to score through number 19 Pavluchenko in the 54th minute. Van Der Sar was forced throughout the game to make saves with a number being the top class saves we expect from the United keeper. The Russians kept shutting the Dutch team down by aggressively attacking the player with the ball and really limiting the passing opportunities for the Dutch especially as they neared the posts. Sneijder resorted to shooting from a far and got 2 shots just outside the posts. Relief came in the 84th minute when Ruud slotted a diving header into the back of the net after a dipping cross from Sneijder from the free kick. The Dutch saved from early dismissal and now have extra time to put themselves through to the semi finals; forcing Van Der Sar to delay his retirement from International football by a further 30 minutes.

Russia dominating extra time eventually got a break through in the 21st minute with a ball unceremoniously knocked past Van Der Sar after a long range pass towards the back post. Securing a place for the 10 men of the Russian team in Thursday’s semi final. To reflect the true class of the Russian attack tonight Arshavin slipped a shot through Van Der Sar's legs adding insult to his retirement. If Russia were to be crowned Euro champions they would be the only the second team to win the Euro competition after losing their first game; the other team ironically being the Netherlands in 1988.

Netherlands 1 - 3 Russia (after extra-time)

Last night the Turks took the match all the way through to penalties to secure a place in Wednesday’s semi final match with Germany. The Germans looking more dominant after winning their game within the 90minutes where as the Turkish game finished 0-0 at the end of 90minutes and 1-1 at the end of extra time. Finally the match was decided after Turkey slotted 3 penalties away to the Croatians measly 1.

Turkey 1(3) - 1(1) Croatia

Back home on the transfer talk side of things, Ronaldo fuming another round of speculation after talking to various media sources still hinting at a move to Real Madrid. The United team still adamant the is going nowhere, though could all this be a rouse to keep the hype up and drive up the price they will receive for Ronaldo. Talk in some media articles of a price tag now in the region of £45 million plus a Sneijder. News is expected on Ronaldo’s future by mid week this week after a reported one on one meeting with Ferguson. Tonight’s result open’s up talks with Rafael van der Vaart after both United and Chelsea expressed a interest in signing the Dutch star. Van der Vaart refused to enter into talks with either club until his Euro commitments were completed.

In Chelsea news it’s reported that Wright-Phillips has been given permission to leave and is likely to be signed by either Portsmouth or Aston Villa.

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