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Russia

Published: Tuesday 5 June 2012, 14.58CET
After topping a major tournament qualifying group for the first time in five attempts, Dick Advocaat's Russia go to Poland and Ukraine looking to better their 2008 run to the semi-finals.

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Published: Tuesday 5 June 2012, 14.58CET

Russia

After topping a major tournament qualifying group for the first time in five attempts, Dick Advocaat's Russia go to Poland and Ukraine looking to better their 2008 run to the semi-finals.

Best EURO performance: winners 1960 (as Soviet Union)
Coach: Dick Advocaat
Leading scorer: all-time – Vladimir Beschastnykh (26); current – Roman Pavlyuchenko (20)
Most appearances: all-time – Viktor Onopko (109); current – Sergei Ignashevich (71)
Association formed: 1912
Nickname: none

Semi-finalists in 2008, Russia approach UEFA EURO 2012 confident after topping a major tournament qualifying group for the first time in five attempts. That ensured no repeat of two years ago, when Slovenia claimed a surprise away-goals triumph in the FIFA World Cup play-offs. Unbeaten on their travels this time round, Dick Advocaat's side conceded four goals in ten qualifiers. It was their attack that illuminated UEFA EURO 2008, and Andrey Arshavin in particular. Suspended for the first two games, he returned to inspire them out of their group and then past the Netherlands. It took Spain to halt him.

UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying
Group B:
winners
Leading scorer: Alan Dzagoev, Roman Pavlyuchenko (4)
Ever-presents: Andrey Arshavin (10)

Dick Advocaat's side made a slow start to qualifying, following a sluggish victory over Andorra with a 1-0 home loss to Slovakia. They steadily improved, sealing progress with a final-day win. Sergei Ignashevich's goal in the 6-0 win against Andorra that clinched the group on 11 October was the 50th of his professional career. He is the most prolific defender in Russian football history.

Russia's success emanated from a strong base as they conceded four times in ten qualifiers – only Italy shipped fewer – while three crucial deflected goals all ultimately earned victories.

"We took part in a difficult ten-match competition and deservedly won it," said Dutchman Advocaat. "I hope any criticism of the national team will die down now."

EURO pedigree
As part of the Soviet Union, Russia helped win the inaugural competition in 1960, as a side containing FC Dinamo Moskva goalkeeper Lev Yashin and FC Spartak Moskva's Igor Netto beat Yugoslavia 2-1 in the final; striker Viktor Ponedelnik scored the extra-time winner.

The USSR were runners-up to Spain in 1964, lost the 1972 final to West Germany and suffered more showpiece woe in 1988 as a Ukrainian-accented team went down 2-0 to the Netherlands.

Since playing under the banner of the CIS (Confederation of Independent States) in 1992, Russia have struggled to repeat past glories. They earned one win in nine finals games in 1992, 1996 and 2004, failing to qualify in 2000, before a welcome return to the business end in Austria and Switzerland where they reached the semi-finals.

UEFA EURO 2012 Group A fixtures
Friday 8 June:
Russia v Czech Republic, 20.45CET, Wroclaw
Tuesday 12 June: Poland v Russia, 20.45CET, Warsaw
Saturday 16 June: Greece v Russia, 20.45CET, Warsaw

Team EURO records
Matches played
Overall:
P63 W37 D12 L14 F124 A60
Final tournament: P11 W4 D1 L6 F13 A20
Qualifying: P52 W33 D11 L8 F111 A40

Click here for extensive list of records

Last updated 5 June 2012

Last updated: 06/12/13 4.43CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/news/newsid=1733560.html#russia

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