‘We want to play football, not fight’: Russia captain Dzyuba eyes Belgium upset in Euro 2020 opener

Russia captain Artem Dzyuba is aiming to beat Belgium at their very own recreation relatively than resort to rudimentary long-ball soccer in their Euro 2020 Group B opener in St. Petersburg.

Russia host Belgium at Krestovsky Stadium on Saturday as the 2 nations kick off their campaigns in entrance of round 30,500 followers.

The quantity one-ranked staff in the world, Belgium are among the many favorites for the match however will probably be with out key playmaker Kevin De Bruyne as he recovers from facial fractures.

Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard can be anticipated to begin on the bench due to health issues.




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Russia can have house benefit however have not crushed the Belgians in seven conferences courting again to 1992.

That consists of two defeats in Euro 2020 qualifying by an combination scoreline of 7-2.

On Belgium’s final journey to play Russia in St. Petersburg in November 2019, Roberto Martinez’s males left with a 4-1 victory.

Not solely the underdogs on Saturday, Russia are additionally perceived by some to be a staff reliant on lengthy balls up to 6ft 5in goal man Dzyuba.

But the Russian skipper has dismissed recommendations that his staff can’t combine it up in opposition to Belgium.

“I’m looking forward to the matches, it’s a big tournament. I’d like to score, like any player, but the team comes first,” Dzyuba said at Friday’s press convention.

“The main thing is to get points, the rest will come if I play well. There’s excitement, but I don’t feel pressure.

“I don’t want to fight with Belgium, I’d rather play football…

“We don’t only play long balls, we have several options. We act based on the the situation, we can go high, we can keep it on the ground.

“I remember well that the Belgians are tough in the fight, very strong.

“I understand perfectly what’s required of me. We have experience, we’ve analyzed all our matches.”




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It was reported afterward Friday that Belgium playmaker De Bruyne had not traveled with the squad to St. Petersburg as he recovers from the nostril and orbital fractures he suffered in Manchester City’s Champions League closing defeat to Chelsea on the finish of May.

Dzyuba prompt the loss could possibly be essential.

“This is a big loss for Belgium,” said the 32-year-old Zenit St. Petersburg ahead.

“The team has its own style, it’s not for nothing that they’re ranked first [in the world]. No one wants to lose their leaders, but the Belgians are still the favorites in the group.”

Dzyuba might attain a private landmark in the match, heading into it only one purpose shy of Russia’s all-time scoring file.

The mark is presently held by former Zenit ahead Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who netted 30 occasions in 91 appearances for ‘Sbornaya’ between 2002 and 2016.

Speaking on Saturday’s assembly, Russia manger Stanislav Cherchesov prompt that the 2 groups know one another effectively after coming via qualifying collectively and in addition taking part in out an entertaining 3-Three pleasant draw in March 2017 – a recreation the place he was additionally in cost.   

“Every squad has had changes. Sometimes they’re tactical. Belgium also have their nuances. As far as I know, they have 18 players in their squad that played at the [Russia 2018] World Cup,” mentioned the Russia boss.

“They are a team used to playing together, they know what they want. They have a great manager. We played them three times, all three matches were entertaining. We are studying them. Our goal is to show our best.”

After taking up Belgium, Russia host Finland in St. Petersburg on Wednesday earlier than closing their Group B marketing campaign in opposition to Denmark in Copenhagen on June 21.   

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