Russia coach Guus Hiddink believes his team must adopt a high risk strategy in their Euro 2008 qualifier against England on Wednesday, a game they have to win to keep alive their hopes of reaching next year’s finals.
“We know what we have to do against England,” the Dutchman told a news conference on Monday at the Luzhniki Olympic Stadium where Wednesday’s crucial Group E encounter takes place.
“You can’t go on a fully fledged attack right from the start because the game lasts 90 minutes, but sooner or later we must take risks and go full out to get a win.”
Croatia currently lead the group on 26 points with two games remaining, with England on 23 and Russia 18, but the Russians have a game in hand on their rivals. However, defeat against England will render their spare match academic.
Hiddink said the 3-0 outcomefrom last month’s clash between the countries at Wembley, flattered England after his team had a legitimate goal ruled out which would have made the score 1-1.
“We got a bit sloppy at the beginning and fell behind but we scored a completely legal goal, which would have given the game a totally different perspective,” he said.
“In any case, I feel we matched up well against England. We were not blown away at Wembley.”
Hiddink, who has just signed a new two-year contract with Russia until 2010, still said England were the favourites to qualify.
“They have a more experienced team while we have a young squad, but the pressure should be on them because almost everyone expects them to win,” he said. “So we have nothing to lose but a lot to gain in this match.”