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10 Jun, 2008 12:15

Euro 2008: Russia ready for Spanish armada

Thousands of Russian football fans have made the journey to Austria for the country's first outing at Euro 2008. The team take on the hotly-fancied Spaniards on Tuesday evening in Innsbruck. But supporters believe that coach Guus Hiddink can get his playe

Six thousand Russian fans were allocated tickets. But the president of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, said about 20,000 would be travelling to the game, having got tickets by other means.
Russia’s opening match is against a Spanish side that beat them at the same stage four years ago. Any thoughts of revenge though have been drowned out by the wave of optimism that’s gripped Russian football. Fans never expected to get this far, and now that they have they’re simply enjoying the ride.

That optimism is largely down to one man – coach Guus Hiddink. He’s got fans believing Russia could reach the knockout stages for the first time ever.

Russia held their final training session in Innsbruck, Austria on Monday, the eve of their opening Group D match.

Meanwhile, Spain Coach Jose Luis Aragones will retire at the end of the tournament. The Spanish team are hoping to give him a memorable farewell.