Euro 2012: Polish clash could be decisive, says Kerzhakov

Updated: 11 June 2012 20:49 IST

Russia's high-octane Euro 2012 Group A clash with co-hosts Poland on Tuesday could prove to be decisive in whether the Russians reach the quarter-finals said their impressive forward Alexander Kerzhakov.

Euro 2012: Polish clash could be decisive, says Kerzhakov
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Warsaw, Poland:

Russia's high-octane Euro 2012 Group A clash with co-hosts Poland on Tuesday could prove to be decisive in whether the Russians reach the quarter-finals said their impressive forward Alexander Kerzhakov.

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Russia - semi-finalists four years ago - top the group after a superb display in Friday's opener saw them humble Czech Republic 4-1 while the Poles were held 1-1 by Euro 2004 champions Greece.

Kerzhakov, though, said that he and his team-mates were not complacent in taking for granted a victory over the Poles, who are far from the formidable force they were in the 1970's and early 1980's.

"The match with Poland may be the decisive game for a place in the knockout stage," he said.

"We all are in an upbeat mood after the opening win but now we have to forget about the match with the Czech Republic and prepare for the match with Poland the best possible way.

"I know it will be a really tough match. Poland are playing on their home turf in front of their home crowd, while the result of their match with Greece could hardly satisfy them.

"Naturally, they now desperately need to win to make it to the quarter-finals. But we also will play for the win on Tuesday to secure top spot," he added.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old midfielder Alan Dzagoev, who scored twice in the match with the Czech Republic, also cautioned his team-mates not to get ahead of themselves.

"There's too much joy after the first win," he said.

"It's just one win, though it was a beautiful one, but nothing serious has been achieved yet. We need to win more matches to achieve something serious at Euro."

Right-sided midfielder Marat Izmailov, who missed the opening match, also said he was expecting a tough clash.

"Poland is a tough, physically strong team, which is very hard to play against," he said.

"But I expected a more impressive performance from them against Greece. Now they have no more room for slip-ups. I think on Tuesday they will fight to the end.

"I believe our team should play the same style they did in the match with the Czechs. We will need to play rapid and savvy football to outwit the Poland defence."

Topics : Aleksandr Kerzhakov Football Euro 2012 Alou Diarra Lech Poznan
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