Soccer-Russia ready for major test against fired-up Denmark

·2 min read
Euro 2020 - Group B - Finland v Russia

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Russia are preparing for a tough match against a Danish team determined to reach the knockout stages of the European championship, Russian manager Stanislav Cherchesov said on Sunday, a day before their final Group B game in Copenhagen.

Russia, who have not reached the latter stages of the European championship since 2008, need either a win against Denmark to get into the last 16 or a draw if Finland fail to beat Belgium in the other Group B match on Monday.

"We think that this will be a difficult match," Cherchesov told a news conference, highlighting Denmark's explosive play and Yussuf Poulsen's early goal in their 2-1 loss to Belgium, the world's top-ranked side.

Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand has pledged that Denmark, who will benefit from home advantage, will beat Russia in honour of Christian Eriksen, who collapsed after suffering a heart attack during their opening game against Finland.

To grab the second qualifying spot, Denmark must beat Russia by two or more goals and rely on Belgium, who have reached the last 16, to beat Finland.

AS Monaco midfielder Alexander Golovin, one of the few Russians who plays in a top European league, said Russia would be facing difficult opponents.

"They are a very powerful team and play at a high tempo," Golovin said. "Even the Belgians had trouble with them the first half... They cannot be underestimated."

Cherchesov would not disclose whether midfielder Mario Fernandes, who was cleared of a spinal injury after a heavy fall in Russia's 1-0 win over Finland, would be fit to play.

He also declined to say who would start in goal after turning to 22-year-old Matvei Safonov against Finland after a sub-par performance by Anton Shunin against Belgium.

Cherchesov is not happy that Denmark is not allowing Russian fans into the country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

"We regret that our fans won't be able to be at the stadium," he said. "In one sense it's unfair. But the situation in the world is complex. The situation here in Denmark doesn't permit them to come and there is nothing we can do about that."

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in St Petersburg; Editing by Ed Osmond)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting