There has been a major shift in European football recently and this was proven in Euro 2008. The Russian team came as a team unknown to most people and went home as stars. Andrei Arshavin was just one of the Russians who starred in Euro 2008. The Russian team played open attractive football which most people enjoyed watching. Guud Hiddink has turned his team from a solid team to an attractive stylish outfit who can outplay a team as good as Holland.
It’s not just the national side who have undergone resurgence. Money has been flooding into the Russian club sides. Most of this money is from oil rich multi-millionaires owners. In three years two Russian teams have managed to win the UEFA CUP. CSKA Moscow were the first team to win the trophy in 2005 after beating Sporting Lisbon 3-1 in the final. CSKA were the first Russian team ever to win a European team to win a European trophy.
Zenith St Petersburg were the second team to win the UEFA Cup in Manchester 2-0 against Rangers. They also won the Russian League. The star of the Zenit team was Andrei Arshavin but it was the whole team which impressed in the UEFA Cup. Although Zenit are currently off the top of the Russian league by 8 points they are still considered the best club team in Russia.
The Russian league has seen a recent influx of foreign players, especially Brazilian players which has raised the level of the league. The Russian leagues are importing players but it’s the Russian Internationals that are attracting interest from abroad. Players such as Pavlyuchenko, Anyukov and Zhirkov impressed Premier League sides. All these players have showed that they can perform at the highest level. The standard of the league is that high that none of these players exact Arshavin have expressed a wish to leave.
Although the Russians were beaten in the semi finals of Euro 2008 by Spain 3-0 the Russians could still be proud of their performances in the competition. They can also be proud of the style of play of their team. Russian manager told the press that he was proud of his team and the nation were proud too. I think Russia will be a force to be reckoned with in tournaments in the near future as these players are just reaching their peak. The future of Russian appears to be bright.