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Semshov cannot wait for Euro 2012

23 March 2012 12:44

Igor Semshov is aiming to help Russia replicate their surprise performance at Euro 2008, and has warned people not to underestimate his team.

Guus Hiddink's side were the surprise package of the Austria and Switzerland competition, beating the likes of Netherlands before being eliminated by Spain in the semi-finals.

However, with Euro 2012 under three months away, Semshov has set his sights on getting through the group stage.

"They are not top teams (Poland, Czech Republic and Greece), but every group has its difficulties. I think that psychologically, everybody wanted to play in that group, but it won't be easy because there are no weak teams in the European Championship," the midfielder told UEFA.com.

"Many people don't know what to expect from Russia either; that's to our advantage.

"Anyone who plays football can only dream about this, whether a boy or an adult. Not everyone can defend their country's pride at such a big tournament. We know what to expect."

Reflecting on the 2008 tournament, Semshov said that it was hard to go home after being knocked out, and has praised Hiddink for fostering a positive attitude in the dressing room.

"I didn't want to leave," he said "Normally, it's enough to be away for a week to 10 days then go home, but we wished the tournament would go on and on.

"Hiddink created a great atmosphere in the camp, and I often look back in those moments when we lived together for a month, talked to each other and played together.

"We lost the opening match to Spain, but Hiddink's words of wisdom helped us carry on. He pointed out our mistakes and we learned from them."

Russia will take on Czech Republic on the opening day of the tournament before facing Poland and then Greece.

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