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Under-19 semi-finals: Russia v Greece preview

While Russia have never reached an Under-19 semi-final, opponents Greece have won both of theirs and 15,000 fans are expected at the AEL FC Arena.

Around 15,000 fans are expected to attend the Greece-Russia semi-final
Around 15,000 fans are expected to attend the Greece-Russia semi-final ©Sportsfile

Russia v Greece (18.00CET, AEL FC Arena, Larissa)
Suspended: none
Available after ban: Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov (Russia)

History
• Greece won the sides' only competitive U19 encounter, beating Russia 3-1 in the 2007/08 elite round.

• The teams met in the group stage at this year's European U17 Championship, sharing a 2-2 draw in Sozopol, Bulgaria, with Russia twice coming from behind. Russia went on to finish second in Group C and reach the quarter-finals; Greece ended third.

U19 semi-final pedigree
Russia: W0 L0

Greece: W2 L0
2012: England 1-2 Greece (aet)
2007: Germany 2-3 Greece

Quotes
Russia
Dmitri Khomukha, coach
We're well prepared. We're glad there's going to be a big crowd as it's very interesting to play in such an atmosphere and it'll be good for us to see how the players respond.

Highlights: Russia 2-2 Germany
Highlights: Russia 2-2 Germany

We're confident in our abilities and we have been looking stronger game by game. We're very positive because we qualified from such a difficult group and so we have positive emotions coming into this semi-final. We're confident that everything will go well for us.

Greece
Giannis Goumas, coach
Russia have a very strong side. Winning their section ahead of Spain, Netherlands and Germany is proof of their potential. They have excellent pace, technically gifted players and we have a very tough task. The fact we play at home, in front of almost 15,000 people, will boost my players and I'm counting on their passion.

Highlights: France 2-0 Greece
Highlights: France 2-0 Greece

We must not leave spaces for Russia to exploit and we must keep close and stay compact. Our plan is to hold tight at the back and make the most of our counterattacks, to score the goal that will see us through. I'm optimistic and have an extra motive, as the match is held in my home town Larissa. My family and my childhood friends are here supporting me and the team, and I hope we'll give them something to celebrate.

Tournament so far
Russia (Group B winners)
Netherlands 1-0 Russia
Spain 1-3 Russia
Russia 2-2 Germany

Greece (Group A runners-up)
Greece 2-0 Ukraine
Greece 0-0 Austria
France 2-0 Greece