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Hiddink keeps faith with injured Pogrebnyak

SoccerNews in European Championships 3 Jun 2008

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Russian national manager Guus Hiddink said Tuesday he would be leaving injured forward Pavel Pogrebnyak in the Euro 2008 squad regardless of the advice of doctors.

“Pavel is working hard with the team physiotherapist,” Hiddink told the press. “I believe he has a chance of recovering and playing in the championship.”

“Even if he has to miss the opening match with Spain I'm not set to call anybody in to replace him,” Hiddink added. “I'm very pleased with my players' work during our training session in Germany.”

Meanwhile, Russian Football Union (RFU) chief Vitaly Mutko said that Pogrebnyak will definitely miss Russia's Euro-2008 opening match with Spain adding that the forward could miss the entire championships.

“Pavel (Pogrebnyak) will not play against Spain,” Mutko said. “It's still difficult to predict whether he will play in the remaining matches of the championship or he will have to undergo surgery.”

Last week Zenit St Petersburg striker Pogrebnyak, the joint UEFA Cup top scorer this season, netted an opener in a friendly against Serbia before twisting his left knee.

Dynamo Moscow striker Alexander Kerzhakov and Dmitry Bulykin, who is currently playing with German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkuzen, have both said they are ready to replace Pogrebnyak.

Russia open their European campaign against Group D opponents Spain on June 10 followed by Greece on June 14 and then Sweden four days later.

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