Russia fly to Warsaw on a high after Italy win

Updated: 03 June 2012 20:49 IST

Russia's veteran Dutch coach Dick Advocaat said his team were brimming with confidence as they flew out to Euro 2012 on Sunday on the back of a big friendly win over Italy and the luck of a relatively easy group draw.

Moscow:

Russia's veteran Dutch coach Dick Advocaat said his team were brimming with confidence as they flew out to Euro 2012 on Sunday on the back of a big friendly win over Italy and the luck of a relatively easy group draw.

The Euro 2008 semi-finalists recorded their first post-Soviet era win over Italy in Zurich on Friday - a 3-0 drubbing that made amends for a lacklustre draw with Lithuania in their previous warm up for the June 8 tournament kick-off.

The 64-year-old Advocaat said his coaching experience from four previous big event finals told him that Russia were entering the European football showpiece at their peak.

"We are on the upswing. We are improving from game to game," said Advocaat of his veteran squad.

"The Italy result fills us with confidence. These friendlies were very important.

"The Italy match showed we're moving in the right direction.

"However, it also showed that we need to seriously improve our defense as we allowed Italy to create too many chances in that match.

"Speaking about the players' physical conditions I'd say that I'm happy with their form after two weeks of preparations."

The ever demanding Advocaat, who will leave the post after the finals, was delighted overall with the manner in which the side was approaching the tournament.

"We collected all the information we needed for our preparations for the tournament.

"The upcoming championship will be my fifth major event and I think I have enough experience. I think we are doing everything right."

Russia are certainly expecting to progress from a group that include Euro 2004 semi-finalists the Czech Republic, co-hosts Poland and Euro 2004 champions Greece.

The team is almost identical to the one that impressed with their flair in their shock defeat of the Netherlands in the 2008 quarter-finals - a win that showed Russia playing an attacking style of football missing for many years.

Russia will be captained by one of their stars of Euro 2008 Andrei Arshavin and feature a backbone of players from the championship winning Zenit Saint Petersburg side that has been playing competitively in Europe for much of the past decade.

Advocaat, who will coach PSV Eindhoven next season, said he had not yet made up his mind about his starting line-up.

"I cannot name the 11 who will come out on the pitch (against the Czech Republic) on June 8," he said.

"We still have a week to go and anything can happen during this week. Of course I have a version of the line-up in my mind but I don't want to disclose it right now."

Russia will play the hosts in Warsaw on June 12 and conclude the group stage with a match against Greece on June 16.

Topics : Football Euro 2012 Alou Diarra Lech Poznan
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