Arshavin hopes for upset
Russia forward Andrei Arshavin has warned Marco van Basten's
Netherlands to expect his side's attacking machine to hit top
gear for Saturday's UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final. The
27-year-old was the star player when the Russians beat Sweden 2-0
to set up a tantalising reunion between their Dutch coach Guus
Hiddink and his compatriots.
The Zenit St. Petersburg star says his side squandered numerous chances against the Swedes, just as they did in the 1-0 win over Greece, and insists the Dutch could feel the full force of their firepower at St. Jakob-Park on Saturday. "I don't think we needed to score that many goals in the Swedish game," said Arshavin. "We need to save them for the next games and I hope we will score a few against the Dutch."
Having sat out Russia's first two EURO 2008 matches through suspension, Arshavin showed what his side had been missing as he dominated Sweden. He provided the movement which led to Roman Pavlyuchenko's 24th-minute opener and then turned scorer himself on 50 minutes.
Emotional reunion for Hiddink
For Russia's former Holland coach Guus Hiddink, Saturday's game promises to be a special occasion. "Why not," replied Hiddink to a question regarding whether his side could beat the Dutch. "The only thing that worries me, is that the Dutch will have had five days more rest than us (as most of the first team missed the Romania clash).
"That is not insignificant. It will be a special match for
me. I know everybody there, the coach, the players. What really
gives me pleasure is two footballing sides taking each other on. It
will be a great match. It is a very special date for me."
But Arshavin says Russia will have their work cut out against "the best side" at EURO 2008. "If we didn't have to play the Netherlands, we would feel much better, because I think they are the best side here," he said. "But fate has it that we have to play the strongest team in the tournament in the last eight. I hope we will be able to match them."