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Russians ecstatic at historic Euro 2008 win over Dutch

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Jun 2008

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Hundreds of thousands poured out into the streets all over Russia early Sunday to a cacophony of honking and shouting as news came in of Russia's historic Euro 2008 quarter-final win over the Netherlands.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated the Russian team on the win, saying that “it was a magnificent game and a magnificent victory,” the Kremlin press service said.

Fans all over Russia echoed the sentiment — in Moscow alone, over 700,000 people ran out into the night to hug passers-by, shoot fireworks and honk horns well into morning, police officials said.

“There are no violations reported, police fully understand our fans and only ask them not to block the roads,” a Moscow police spokesman said as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency, adding that no one drunk or unruly disrupted the impromptu festivities.

In Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, the dancing crowds toasted all three players that scored the goals that secured Russia's victory, particularly Andrei Arshavin, who is a native of the former Imperial capital.

Some 10,000 fans in the Siberian city of Tomsk thronged in the central square to watch the game live on huge screens set up by the city's authorities, spraying each other with champagne each time the Russian team scored.

In the Pacific port of Vladivostok, even bookmakers rejoiced at the victory, saying that three fourths of all fans placed their bets on the Russian team.

“Only one fourth bet on Holland in a bid to make a bit of money — but they lost, lost!” the owner of one bookmaking office said as quoted by RIA Novosti.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this is the first time Russia have made the knock-out stages of a major tournament and will contest next Thursday's semi-final in Vienna.

Russia opened their Euro 2008 campaign with a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Spain as David Villa hit a hat-trick, but the Russians hit back with a 1-0 win over Greece and were impressive in their 2-0 win over Sweden.

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