Russia Eliminates Defending Champs

VIENNA -- Greece's Euro 2008 title defense petered out tamely Saturday when it lost 1-0 to Russia, while Spain became the fourth team to advance with a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Sweden.

Greece's 1-0 defeat in Salzburg sent Spain through to join Portugal, Croatia and Netherlands in the last eight, all as group winners on six points.

The Greeks join co-hosts Switzerland as the only teams out of contention at the end of the second round of group games, with the 2004 champions the only team not to have scored.

It also maintained the European Championship's record of the defending champions failing to reach the final since it switched to a tournament format in 1980.

"We didn't score against Sweden and we didn't score today, which shows where our problems lie," Greece coach Otto Rehhagel said.

"We thought we would do better here."

In what is becoming a recurring theme at this action-packed tournament, David Villa netted in stoppage time for Spain in Innsbruck, his fourth goal in two games and the seventh added-time goal in 16 games so far.

Saturday took the tournament, co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria, past the halfway mark with 16 of the 31 matches played.

The first eight days have produced some excellent football and unexpected results in a generally trouble-free, party atmosphere.

Spain again looked lively and led through Fernando Torres before Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored a cracker in Sweden's opening 2-0 win over Greece, leveled later in the first half.

It stayed that way until the 92nd minute, when Villa broke away and fashioned a goal out of nothing, his fourth of the tournament following his hat trick in the 4-1 win over Russia.

The Russians later got their campaign back on track with a first-half goal by Konstantin Zyryanov after a blunder by Greek keeper Antonis Nikopolidis, and though Greece finally threw bodies forward after the break, they rarely threatened.

Russia and Sweden meet in their final game in Innsbruck on Wednesday, when the Swedes will need only a draw to go through but Russia will have striker Andrei Arshavin available for the first time in the tournament after a suspension.

The situation is far less clear-cut in Group C, where myriad possible outcomes surround Tuesday's final round.

Despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Romania, world champion Italy could yet reach the quarterfinals with a meager two points.

France needs to beat Italy to have any chance following its 4-1 thrashing by Netherlands.

Fans of all persuasions were still purring in appreciation of the Dutch performance in that game, with comparisons to the "Total Football" of the 1970s and the 1988 European Championship-winning teams proving irresistible.

Even Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was caught up in the euphoria, saying he told the players he was keeping his diary free for June 29 -- the day of the final.

Some 7.4 million of the country's population of 16 million watched Friday's game on TV and another 150,000 were in Bern, where police reported only a few arrests for minor incidents after a long night of celebrations.

Romania are still very much still in the hunt too and could also advance with a draw against Netherlands.

Sunday's final Group A matches, between Turkey and Czech Republic and Portugal and Switzerland, were not finished by press time.

n UEFA officials on Saturday brushed off the latest speculation about Euro 2012, denying that Spain had been approached as a possible replacement host if infrastructure problems persisted with Poland and Ukraine.

A report in Spanish newspaper ABC on Saturday said that in the course of regular meetings, Platini had asked Spanish federation officials whether they would be able to step in as replacement hosts.

"I know absolutely nothing about such a meeting," UEFA director of communications William Gaillard told a news conference on Saturday.

"There are a lot of stories going around about Euro 2012 and, as we have said before, we will be dealing with the issue in July with the visit of our president.

"Anything you hear before that is devoid of reality."