Cor Pot is hoping his Dutch players maintain their level for 90 minutes in their second Group B game as Russia's Nikolai Pisarev welcomes attacking reinforcements.
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After entertaining with their slick football and dramatic finish against Germany, the Netherlands are seeking just the one thing against Group B rivals Russia: a victory. Coach Cor Pot said the carrot of potentially securing their UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-final place early was a big incentive for the Jong Oranje, though he warned of the threat of a potentially revitalised Russia whose coach Nikolai Pisarev is hoping for a big impact from two new arrivals.
Cor Pot, Netherlands coach
It's not an easy game for us – I saw their match and Spain are a very good football country and it was 0-0 for a long while. Spain deserved to win but you could see they were a dangerous team and they'll also have two new players tomorrow.
They are very good players, they play for the A team, but it will be hard for them to come from Portugal and perform straight away. However, we want to play to our own strengths, we are not thinking about them. We are thinking how we want to play and we want to play good football. If we win, we could be in the semi-finals, that is what we must be thinking about.
I told them before the match against Germany that they had to do it for 90 minutes but they responded again in the last ten minutes of the game and had four or five chances to win it. At half-time I was talking to them because I know how the German team thinks – they never stop going. I warned them. It was positive in the end because we fought for the result. They puffed their chests out and lifted their game.
Matchday one result
Netherlands 3-2 Germany (Maher 24, Wijnaldum 38, Fer 90; Rudy 47pen, Holtby 81)
Zoet; Van Rhijn; Martins Indi, De Vrij, Blind; Strootman; Maher (Depay 82), Van Ginkel; Wijnaldum (Jozefzoon 68), John (Fer 82), De Jong.
• The Netherlands led 2-0 at the break through Adam Maher and Georginio Wijnaldum but were pegged back by a Sebastian Rudy penalty and Lewis Holtby's low drive. However, the Jong Oranje were not to be denied and substitute Leroy Fer headed in the winner at the death.
Pot confirmed that Wijnaldum, who was replaced in the 68th minute with a back complaint, is fit to face Russia. The rest of the Netherlands squad has reported a clean bill of health.
Nikolai Pisarev, Russia coach
Strategically speaking, we need three points. A draw will leave us only a slight chance to advance and moreover, if it came down to that, not everything would be in our hands. Therefore we're looking for the win and will prepare our game plan accordingly in terms of tactics.
We are waiting on Alan Dzagoev and Fedor Smolov. Dzagoev was an unused substitute while Smolov played just over 20 minutes. This means they won't arrive here exhausted. We planned training for the evening with the express purpose that these guys can be there. After that, we will also have a tactical meeting.
I think they will settle into the squad quickly. Smolov took part in almost all the qualifying matches and also in the friendlies. As for Dzagoev [who did not play a single match in qualifying] his skill level and personal qualities mean it is likely he will find a common language with his team-mates immediately.
Matchday one result
Spain 1-0 Russia (Morata 82)
Zabolotni; Chicherin, Burlak, Belyaev, Schennikov; Tsallagov (Kirillov 80), Shatov, Petrov; Bibilov (Grigoryev 46), Yakovlev, Cheryshev (Kanunnikov 58).
• Russia had frustrated the holders and seemed destined to earn a share of the spoils only for Álvaro Morata to head in with eight minutes remaining.
Pisarev has the boost of two new arrivals with Dzagoev and Smolov joining the U21s following the senior team's FIFA World Cup qualifier in Portugal on Friday. Smolov came on in the 68th minute in Lisbon while Dzagoev remained bench-bound. Both players joined in the squad's training session on the eve of the game. Russia lost defender Ivan Knyazev to a knee injury just before the Spain fixture and Aleksei Nikitin has since arrived in his place.
Although they have never played in a competitive U21 fixture, the countries did meet in a friendly in Groningen on 6 February 2007. The Netherlands ran out 3-0 winners thanks to two goals from Otman Bakkal (23, 27) and another from Maceo Rigters (62).
Did you know?
Netherlands coach Pot was assistant to Dick Advocaat at FC Zenit Saint Petersburg between 2006 and 2009, when he took charge of the Jong Oranje.