Russian football fans are hoping for a double celebration as Dick Advocaat’s men take on Poland amid Russia Day festivities in country, knowing a win would bag them a place in the quarterfinals.
Team Russia sit atop their Group A after the first matchay, in which they hammered the Czech Republic with 4-1 scoreline.
The national team’s coach, Dick Advocaat, is hungry for more, aiming for a 100 per cent result in the preliminaries.
“We’ve only played one game, so we'll have to wait and see what happens in the next two matches,” the Dutchman said. “It was important for us to set the tone and win the opening clash, but that's all in the past. We're now focused on securing all nine points by the end of the group stages.”
The Poles left themselves little room for error after playing a 1-1 draw in their opener with Greece, so the Russian coach expects no walk in the park on Tuesday night.
“Poland are a very strong team, who have a home advantage,” he stressed. “However, we're confident that we can make things difficult for them. We know that if one of our players isn't playing well, someone else hasr to step up their game to help the team win.”
Poland agree with the underdog’s status ahead of the clash, but it won’t prevent the co-hosts from playing for the win.
“Russia are clearly the favorites in the group,” Franciszek Smuda, Poland’s coach, stressed. “They have a very solid, experienced team with plenty of firepower. We haven't lost to them since 1996 and, coming up with proper tactics for the match, should hopefully help us continue that streak.”
The Greek game revealed some fitness problems in the Polish side, but Smuda said his team’s physical condition has improved.
“I can only say that in the game against Russia will be able to keep up the high tempo for the whole 90 minutes. We’ll cope, don’t worry,” he calmed the local journalists.
A win on Tuesday will grant Russia playoff qualification and – in case of the Czech Republic drawing against Greece it will even be enough to book the first spot in the group.
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