UEFA Euro 2012: Russia get ready for the decider with Greece

Updated: 13 June 2012 15:42 IST

Russia on Wednesday rued a missed opportunity of becoming the first team to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, after drawing 1-1 with co-hosts Poland in a highly-charged encounter.

UEFA Euro 2012: Russia get ready for the decider with Greece

Warsaw:

Russia on Wednesday rued a missed opportunity of becoming the first team to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, after drawing 1-1 with co-hosts Poland in a highly-charged encounter.


Full-back Sergei Ignashevich said he was upset with the result of Tuesday's match in Warsaw, which saw CSKA Moscow's Alan Dzaegov give Dick Advocaat's men a half-time lead, only to see Poland skipper Kuba Blaszczykowski cancel it out in the second.

"We had a good chance to make it to the play-offs but missed it," said Ignashevich, who also plays for CSKA. "Naturally we're all upset with it.

"I think on Saturday (in their final Group A match against Greece) we will need to grab the initiative from the start and never give it back to the Greeks."

Zenit St Petersburg goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev also said he was disappointed with the draw, which followed Russia's demolition of the Czech Republic 4-1 in their opening match last week.

"You always have a feeling of a loss when you have a lead but at the end you finish level with your rivals," he said. "But nevertheless with this result we made a step forward. And best of all, our fate is still in our own hands."

Advocaat maintained after the game that his side played the better football on the night, in a match loaded with historical and political baggage because of the turbulent, often bloody shared history of the two nations.

Ignashevich, however, suggested the pitch at the National Stadium did not help the fluidity of Russia's passing game.

"It's hard to combine throughout the entire match on the soft pitch of Warsaw stadium," he said.

European champions Spain similarly blamed the pitch in the northern Polish city of Gdansk after their 1-1 opening draw in Group C with Italy on Sunday.

Midfielder Roman Shirokov, however, suggested at least they were prepared for the surface when they take on Greece at the same ground.

"Here in Warsaw the pitch at the local arena is beneath all criticism. It's too soft and eneven. But the Spanish players complained that in Gdansk it's even worse," he said.

"So, we'd better stay here. At least here in Warsaw we know what we can expect. That means we must win on Saturday."

Russia lead Group A with four points, with the Czech Republic -- 2-1 winners over Greece on Tuesday -- on three, Poland on two and Greece on one.

Shirokov said that although a draw would take Russia through, they would be going all-out to win against Fernando Santos' team.

"Of course a draw with Greece will also put us into the knockout stage but we should win and stay in Warsaw. Any other result will be unacceptable," he said.

Malafeev said that with the Greeks preferring a more direct approach, it was important Russia played their usual style of football -- and score as many goals as possible.

"We also need to forget that a draw will also put us into the knockout stage and score. Once, twice... As much as we can," he added.



Topics : Football Euro 2012
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