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Sheydaev reflects on Russia triumph

Ramil Sheydaev said Russia's eye-catching win against Spain was down to "collective effort" but was quick to point out that "this isn't our finest moment yet".

Ramil Sheydaev (third left) celebrates scoring Russia's third goal against Spain
Ramil Sheydaev (third left) celebrates scoring Russia's third goal against Spain ©EPO

Russia were the only team to arrive at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship having won all of their six qualifiers and in Ramil Sheydaev they boasted the top scorer overall with ten goals. Dmitri Khomukha's side started the finals slowly with defeat against the Netherlands but burst into life against Spain.

Again Russia began slowly, falling behind to Borja Mayoral's early strike, but Dmitri Barinov levelled before the break, Aleksei Gasilin made it 1-2 early in the second period before Sheydaev opened his finals account with a clinching third. "I have positive emotions right now; I'm very happy to have scored and helped my team win this match," the striker told UEFA.com.

"This is a result of collective effort; every player gave it everything we had. But this isn't the end of the line here, nor our finest moment yet. Our focus now is on the match against Germany and we have only one objective: to win."

Germany's win against the Netherlands means all four Group B teams have three points ahead of the final round of fixtures and, as many predicted back in June when the draw was made, this group will go down to the wire. "This is our final," Sheydaev explained. "It's a simple equation. If we lose, we go home. We have to play a great game in order to reach the semi-finals.

Russia's Ramil Sheydaev in action against the Netherlands
Russia's Ramil Sheydaev in action against the Netherlands©Sportsfile

"We will achieve it only if we give it everything on the pitch, as we did against Spain. Germany are strong, physical and technically gifted. We need to apply pressure, show the same team spirit, determination and concentration to be successful again."

Russia's impressive dismantling of a Spain side who had sparkled in beating Germany 3-0 on matchday one was a reminder of why Sheydaev and his teammates were U-17 European champions two years ago. "It was a very tough match against a technically astute team, but we managed to win," the FC Zenit forward added. "Everyone did their duty to hold on for the win."

'Holding on' was made rather harder by the dismissal of Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov twenty minutes from time, Sheydaev playing a key part as Russia frustrated Spain by holding the ball up and occupying three or four defenders on his own. The red card was Russia's second in as many games, their No9 saying: "It seems that a red card happens often. It's not the best, but apparently we know how to approach a game when we're a man short." Sheydaev and Russia will hope to be at full strength, in all senses, against Germany.