Warsaw, June 11 (IANS/RIA Novosti) On the eve of Russia's potentially explosive clash with co-hosts Poland, Russia midfielder Marat Izmailov Monday said he had expected more of the Poles in their Group A opener against Greece.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw after both teams had a man each sent off.
It allowed Russia to race clear at the top of the group with a convincing 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic, leaving the Poles in need of points against Russia in Warsaw Tuesday to get their campaign back on track.
I managed to see some parts of their match with the Greeks, the Sporting Lisbon winger said in comments on the Russian Football Union's website.
And to be honest I expected more of them, both in their play and in the result. Everyone knows Bundesliga footballers play there, he said, referring to Borussia Dortmund trio Robert Lewandowski, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Lukasz Piszczek.
Izmailov is unlikely to start Tuesday's match due to the red-hot form of CSKA midfielder Alan Dzagoev, who scored twice in victory over the Czechs.
Game discipline and speed are very important, he said. Our team generally has individually strong, technically well-equipped players. If we show our best traits in the game against Poland, we'll get the result.
The match at the national stadium will be played against the unpleasant backdrop of a UEFA investigation into the actions of Russian fans after the game in Wroclaw Friday.
Dozens of Russian supporters were caught on camera beating up Polish match stewards, with the head of the Russian fan club Alexander Shprygin telling R-Sport later that it was justified because the stewards had roughed up innocent fans.
Four stewards required hospital treatment after the assault.