x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Euro 2012: High-scoring Russia need a point to secure qualification

Dick Advocaat's team now need a draw against Greece in their final Group A game to seal a quarter-final berth.

Russia head coach Dick Advocaat instructs players during a training session. Sergey Ponomarev / AP Photo
Russia head coach Dick Advocaat instructs players during a training session. Sergey Ponomarev / AP Photo

WARSAW // While Holland have flopped so far at Euro 2012, at least one Dutchman at the tournament is still smiling.

Russia's coach, Dick Advocaat, is marshalling one of the tournament's most entertaining teams.

It is like Euro 2008 all over again. In Austria and Switzerland, another Dutchman, Guus Hiddink, steered an unheralded Russia to the semi-finals. The only team to beat Hiddink's side at Euro 2008 were tournament winners Spain - who took apart Russia in their group match and then again in the last four.

The two teams are again proving the most compelling to watch in Poland and Ukraine, topping the scoring chart with five goals each from their opening two matches.

Asked after his side's 1-1 draw with Poland to pick the most entertaining team so far, Advocaat replied: "Russia, in terms of how we play."

Russia's policy of attack at all costs means they creates plenty of chances, but hand scoring opportunities to their opponents.

In the second half against Poland, with a 1-0 lead, Russia were almost reckless in their insistence on pressing forward. They paid the price when Jakub Blaszczykowski fired in a spectacular equaliser that means Advocaat's team now need a draw against Greece today to seal a quarter-final berth.

Advocaat already knew many of the Russia squad - including the influential captain and playmaker Andrey Arshavin - from a successful spell coaching the Russia club Zenit St Petersburg.

The midfielder Konstantin Zyryanov, who also played in the 2008 campaign, said Hiddink and Advocaat are very much alike. "There are no big differences," he said. "These are both strong coaches."

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