Russia

Posted on: 05 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Russia will need more of Guus Hiddink's lucky charm if they're to make a mark on Euro 2008.

Football Profile

Coach: Guus Hiddink (61) (Nld) The Dutch master has been named “Lucky Mr Hiddink” by the Russian public for their fortuitous route to Euro 2008.

Away From The Game

Capital: Moscow

Population: 142m

Currency: Russian Ruble

Language(s): Russian

Famous Export: Roman Abramovich (oligarch) Yuri Gagarin (astronaut, Pyotr Tchaikovsky (classical music), Alexander Pushkin (poet)

National Food: Blintzes (pancake), pierogies (stuffed dumplings), Borscht (vegetable and beetroot soup), poached Salmon, Caviar with soup cream and vodka.

National Drink: Kvas (bread drink), tea and vodka.

National Animal: Bear

Star: Andrei Arshavin (27), Zenit Saint Petersburg creative midfield linch-pin inspired his club side to UEFA Cup glory this year and captains his country.

Hidden Gem: Pavel Pogrebnyak (24), Zenit Saint Petersburg striker has netted four goals in nine internationals and was the UEFA Cup’s top goalscorer this season.

How They Qualified: Group E runners-up behind Croatia, but ahead of England, Israel, Estonia, Macedonia and Andorra.

Previous Best: First Round 1996, 2004 or Winners 1960 (as Soviet Union)

FIFA Ranking: 25

Key Fact: Arshavin misses the first two matches after getting himself stupidly sent off against minnows Andorra in Russia’s final qualifying match.

Guus HiddinkOverview: So formidable at home, Russia tend to struggle to find their feet when travelling to major tournaments. They are yet to get through the group stage in a finals competition since the break up of the Soviet Union. They may need to rely on Hiddink’s lucky charm again as his record with unfancied teams is renowned.

Odds: 22/1


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