x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Euro 2012: Andrey Arshavin aims to repeat his 2008 heroics for Russia

Beating Italy 3-0 in a warm-up friendly has given Dick Advocaat's team a huge boost ahead of opener against Czech Republic.

Russian forward Andrey Arshavin controls the ball during a training session at the Victoria stadium in Sulejowek, Poland. Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP
Russian forward Andrey Arshavin controls the ball during a training session at the Victoria stadium in Sulejowek, Poland. Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP

WROCLAW, POLAND // Should Russia repeat their run of four years ago and reach the semi-finals that would be counted as a success said Andrey Arshavin, their captain and playmaker.

The 31 year old - who looks to have returned to form after going back to Zenit Saint Petersburg on loan from Arsenal earlier this year - was one of the stars of Euro 2008.

"I'd say that we should really repeat the level of our Euro achievement last time," he said.

"First, it will be great to repeat our 2008 performance. But we know we will definitely need to beat some of the event's hotter favourites to achieve it."

The Russians - who last reached the final in 1988 as the then Soviet Union and lost Holland - open their campaign against the Czech Republic in Wroclaw on Friday.

However, Arshavin said that their recent 3-0 win over Italy in a friendly had given the squad a shot in the arm.

"The result of the friendly match with Italy boosted our fans' hopes ahead of the championship's start and all of our players also," he said.

"However, for a long time we have believed our team is capable of playing at this level."

Despite the thrashing of Italy, Russia's Dutch coach Dick Advocaat is keen to quell the rising tide of optimism.

"One friendly victory, even if it was a thrashing of Italy, doesn't make us the Euro favourites," said 64 year old, who is stepping down after the finals to take over Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.

"We should remain realists, it was just a warm-up game. It's good that we scored three goals against Italy to boost our team's self-confidence but we still need to improve our defence to avoid serious problems in the group matches with the Czechs, Poland and Greece."

While the Russians are trying to improve their defence, the Czechs have had quite a different problem to overcome in their preparations.

Before arriving at their base in Wroclaw, traces of the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria were found in their hotel, which needed to call in a disinfection company before Polish health inspectors gave it the all clear.

Their other major concern is over the fitness of the Galatasaray forward Milan Baros who limped out of training on Tuesday with a thigh problem.