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Russia in it to win, says Advocaat

  • 15 Jun 2012
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s coach Dick Advocaat attends a training session

Powerhouses Russia intend to win their final Group A match against Greece, coach Dick Advocaat said on Friday, as striker Alan Dzagoev said the team's unruly fans should behave in the face of a threatened UEFA points penalty.

The Group A leaders know that a draw against bottom of the table Greece will be enough to earn them a berth in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, but plan to show their mettle, Advocaat told reporters on the eve of Saturday's match in Warsaw.

After a 4-1 demolition of the Czech Republic in their tournament opener last week, Russia were criticised for getting ahead of themselves, allowing co-hosts Poland to fight back against them in Tuesday's crunch match which ended 1-1.

"I think that whenever you play a game, you have to win and want to win," 64-year-old Advocaat said.

"We are very confident in ourselves and I'm sure the Greek coach will say the same thing."

Advocaat, who took over from compatriot Guus Hiddink in May 2010, has won plaudits for building a side with attractive, free-flowing play and blooding young talent such as CSKA Moscow's Dzagoev.

The 21-year-old has scored three goals so far at Euro 2012, with a double against the Czechs and one in the Poland game.

There is an outside chance that Russia could fail to advance if Greece win and there is a winner between the Czechs and Poland in Saturday's other match in the southwestern city of Wroclaw.

But Dzagoev said he wasn't reckoning on a nightmare.

"I'm really sure that we'll go through. We are very focused. We must go on the pitch and win this game. We don't feel relaxed. We simply must win. It's a simple thing," he said.

Russia face the spectre of a six-point deduction from their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in the event of fan trouble.

Russia's two games have been marked by fans lighting flares and throwing fireworks, and European football's governing body UEFA made the points threat after hitting them with a 120,000-euro ($150,000, 96,000-pound) fine.

Advocaat, who has repeatedly refused to comment on off-pitch issues, was pressed on that but snapped: "Are you really going to ask me this type of question?"

Dzagoev, however, said supporters should reflect on the risks.

"Maybe they should be more calm. We don't need to lose six points in the next qualification, so we don't want anything bad for our national team," he said.

Dzagoev is one of the breakthrough names at Euro 2012, though he played down his skills.

"I don't think that I've played two good games. Yes, I scored in the second game, but it wasn't as good as the first game. I lost a lot of balls," he said.

The young striker is rumoured to be on the radar of the English Premier League, but he refused to be drawn.

"Of course, I have the desire to try myself in other clubs in Europe. But I'll think about it only after the tournament. Now I'm doing my own job here," he said.

Dzagoev is one of five CSKA Moscow players in Russia's 23-man squad, along with seven from Zenit St Petersburg, including captain Andrey Arshavin, on loan from Arsenal.

Questioned as to whether he relied too heavily on Arshavin, Advocaat said: "It has nothing to do with whether he's important or not. He's the captain.

"He did lose the ball a lot and that can cost you a game. But I left him on for the simple fact that he's a player that can score out of nothing. He's the type of player who can make a difference."

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