Well here we are, the last group to get underway and we see the first Euro hat-trick in eight years courtesy of David Villa. His inclusion in the squad until now had been mostly as a sub, but after today I think Luis Aragones will have a hard time justifying not having him in from the start partnering with Torres. Spain for the most part performed as many predicted. They passed well, created chances, and for spells during the game looked extremely dangerous. However all was not perfect for them. They looked shaky at the back when pressed and had a tendency to give away the ball at odd times. Ramos was guilty of this a few times but luckily they were never punished, and he played solid the majority of the game.
As for Russia they were much tamer than I expected. Don’t get me wrong they had their chances and even hit the post twice, but they never seemed like the team most expected to show up. Lets just chalk this one up to first match jitters. As it stands they are currently at the bottom of the group and need a win to stay in contention. The only positive that can be taken away from this is that the team did not roll over and had brief spells in the second half that showed they are willing to fight. Now weather this is because Guus Hiddink encouraged them or threatened them we may never know.
From a neutral point of view I must confess that this was one of the better games played so far and the only one where both teams scored, which is good to see. Both teams displayed moments of brilliance and slick passing that was very easy on the eyes and hopefully there will be more games like this so we can all enjoy a great tournament.
On a side note I suggest reading the first person account of Netherlands v Italy by our very own Gaffer, you can find that here.