Arshavin handed two-game ban at Euro 2008

MOSCOW Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:21pm GMT

Russia's Andrei Arshavin stands on the pitch before their Euro 2008 Group E qualifier football match against Israel at Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv November 17, 2007. Russia's Andrei Arshavin stands on the pitch. REUTERS/Oleg Popov

Russia's Andrei Arshavin stands on the pitch before their Euro 2008 Group E qualifier football match against Israel at Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv November 17, 2007. Russia's Andrei Arshavin stands on the pitch.

Credit: Reuters/Oleg Popov

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia captain Andrei Arshavin was banned for their first two Euro 2008 group games by UEFA's disciplinary committee on Thursday.

He will miss his country's opening Group D match against Spain and their second game with champions Greece but will be available for the final group encounter against Sweden.

Arshavin was facing a possible three-game suspension after being sent off for dangerous play in Russia's final Euro 2008 Group E qualifier in Andorra last month.

He was given a red card after kicking Andorra defender Ildefons Lima in a 1-0 win that secured Russia's place in next year's 16-team tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Russia coach Guus Hiddink had said he would leave the Zenit St Petersburg striker out of the 23-man squad if he was banned for all three group matches.

"Of course, I'm disappointed as I was hoping for a one-game ban," Arshavin was quoted as saying by the Russian media. "But I'm still hoping Guus Hiddink will include me in the squad for the Euro 2008 finals. I'll do my best to be in top form then."

(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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