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Russia strong says Semshov

20 Jun 2008 - 12:29:32

Russia midfielder Igor Semshov believes that his side's 4-1 thrashing by Spain in their opening game at Euro 2008 proved to be a blessing in disguise.

Guus Hiddink's side recovered to see off Greece and Sweden to reach the quarter-finals, where the Russia coach will go up against his home nation, the Netherlands.

Semshov said: "We had a chance to unload mentally after the Spain game, where we suffered such a heavy defeat.

"After that we realised there was nothing to lose and played like our normal selves again, although we knew we had to win both games to progress.

"Playing in a group is one thing, but a knockout situation is completely different. There is no margin for error and you do not get a second chance.

"There is no question the Netherlands are among the favourites. They are one of the strongest teams here, but we have to believe in ourselves."

Coach Hiddink himself added: "It's hard to say whether we can beat Holland.

"It'll be hard but we look forward to playing them. The way we play, we get respect and Holland do the same.

"I don't know if they have fear, but they have the advantage of four days' rest."


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