Slovakia defender Jan Durica has urged his side to “fight for our families watching at home” as they aim to kick-start their Euro 2016 campaign against Russia.
A late goal from Hal Robson-Kanu condemned Jan Kozak’s side to defeat in Bordeaux in their opening Group B match, and a loss to Russia in Lille on Wednesday would likely spell the end of their campaign in France.
Russia boss Leonid Slutsky attempted to turn up the pressure on their opponents when he said his own side could not be considered favourites to win, but Durica – who has spent much of his career with Lokomotiv Moscow – says Slovakia must be prepare to battle for a win as they would ahead of any other match.
“There’s been a claim that we’re the favourites – maybe they want to push us into that position,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s very important for us but we’re trying to prepare for this like any other. When you start, it’s 0-0, the chances for both teams are the same.
“Players like Artem Dzyuba or [Fyodor] Smolov are in great form but we will not sell ourselves cheaply.
“It’s a very important match for us, we’re here for the first time at such a tournament. We’ve put the Wales defeat behind us, we have six points to play for and I think that, looking at the set-up of our team, there’s a great chance to succeed if we give everything, which everyone will.
“I think all the players are very dangerous, those players who start tomorrow will follow the coach’s plan. We have to leave everything on the pitch and fight for our families watching at home. We have to fight for everything.”
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