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Advocaat aims for top spot

8 June 2012 13:08

Russia boss Dick Advocaat has admitted that his troops are targeting top spot in Group A at Euro 2012.

The Dutchman's side have been drawn alongside Czech Republic, against whom they open their campaign on Friday night, co-hosts Poland and 2004 champions Greece.

Advocaat feels all four teams are well-matched but revealed that Russia are confident of progressing to the knockout stages as group winners.

"When we started our preparations, we said straight away that we wanted to be number one," the 64-year-old coach said.

"But we can only say at the end of the tournament whether that was a realistic target or not.

"But we had a brilliant qualification, showing attacking, attractive football to our fans. We have excellent players and I have good feelings ahead of the first match.

"We have only been training once a day because in the spring our players played a lot of games both in the Russian championship and in Europe. But what we have seen in training has been very positive."

Russia are being tipped as 'dark horses' for the title after their emphatic 3-0 victory over fellow finalists Italy in Zurich last week but Advocaat is reluctant to read too much into the win.

"The friendlies were important but not so much that we should draw big conclusions from them," the former Netherlands boss said.

"A victory like the one over Italy gives confidence, of course, but now a completely different opponent awaits us."

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