Poland defender Lukasz Piszczek has conceded Russia are favourites to win Tuesday’s Group A encounter in Warsaw.
The two nations had contrasting starts to Euro 2012, with the co-hosts held to a 1-1 draw by Greece, while an Alan Dzagoev-inspired Russia side cruised past Czech Republic 4-1 to establish themselves as the favourites to progress.
Borussia Dortmund man Piszczek knows Russia will pose a stern challenge, but he nonetheless underlined his side’s desire to take all three points.
“Russia has a lot of experience and they are the favourites in this game,” he said.
“But we have the fans behind us and we want to win this match.”
Piszczek has become well acquainted with Tuesday’s nominated referee Wolfgang Stark from his time in the Bundesliga and believes he is the right official for the fixture.
“I know referee Wolfgang Stark from the Bundesliga. I think he is a good referee and we should not suffer from his decisions,” Piszczek said.
Midfielder Kamil Grosicki and assistant coach Hubert Malowiejski also attended a press conference, with the duo stating they are ready for the formidable test that their rivals will provide.
“Russia is the strongest opponent in our group. We have no fear, we will be tactically prepared for this match – they will not surprise us,” Malowiejski told reporters.
“The best players from Russia are playing in Zenit (St Petersburg) and CSKA (Moscow) and they know each other well, so that is their main strength.”
Malowiejski moved on to stress Poland were only focused on their own group at this point in time rather than thinking about potential quarter-final opponents.
“We are not looking (at) what happens in Group B because we must first concentrate on our things and the matches against Russia and Czech Republic,” he said.
The coach’s assurances were echoed by Grosicki, who highlighted Poland’s counter-attacking threat as their key weapon against Russia.
“The Russians will attack us. We must play from the counter attack but I think that we are well prepared for it because we have played many games from the counter attack,” the Sivasspor midfielder added.
“We have two fast wingers with (Jakub) Blaszczykowski and (Maciej) Rybus.”
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