Guus Hidink – the Russian coach
Guus Hiddink – the Russian coach, admits he is looking forward to facing England in Wednesday’s qualifier at Wembley for Euro 2008.
Russia are a point ahead of England and Hiddink spoke after of his respect for Steve McClaren’s team but emphasised there was no fear among his squad.
“England were obviously stronger than Israel,” said the Dutchman, whose team were held 1-1 by Israel in Moscow last year. “England did a very good job against Israel, who I know have potential if you let them play.”
“Israel didn’t have a single chance. And of course when you think of the friendly match between England and Germany [last month] you’re impressed by the power of the English. But that doesn’t frighten us. In any case the game starts at 0-0 and I hope the numbers on the board at the end will bring joy to us alone.”
“We’re not going there just to defend. If we sit back for 90 minutes, sooner or later they’ll punish us,” the coach said.
“We’ll have to attack but we will have to defend as well. I see it as a high-tempo game with both sides looking to score.”
“I was impressed when I saw England play Germany.
“England created a lot of chances and were not lucky in finishing them off. Germany got two lucky goals, in my opinion, but England were impressive.”
Hiddink believes qualification is between group leaders Croatia, Russia and England.
“Croatia are in the lead and they don’t drop many points,” he added. “Everyone has to play everyone so it is very complicated until the end of the day.
“I would like to be there. I wish England are there but realistically you have to say Croatia is a very experienced team.”