Russia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink says he wants to be the traitor of the year in the Netherlands and see Russia knock his countrymen out of Euro 2008 in Saturday's quarter-final.
Despite being a proud Dutchman, the 61-year-old has guided Russia into the quarter-finals from Group D and is hoping his side will beat the 'Oranje' at St Jakob-Park stadium here.
More than 100,000 Dutch fans – many bedecked totally in orange – are expected to descend upon Basel and Hiddink was asked if he would feel like a traitor if Russia won.
“I want to be the traitor of the year in Holland, because if I am the traitor of the year back home, it will have meant we won the game,” joked Hiddink, who coached Holland between 1994-98.
“I don't know the words to the Russian national anthem, but I like the melody, so I will mime along.
“If I am going to be a traitor, I might as well do it properly.”
His side face a formidable challenge.
The Netherlands destroyed both world champions Italy (3-0) and 2006 World Cup finalists France (4-1) in Group C and have scored nine goals so far with some breathtaking football.
Real Madrid's attacking midfielder Wesley Sneijder scored against both France and Italy, while former Manchester United star Ruud van Nistelrooy has also been terrorising defences.
Hiddink says the only way to defend against such a side is to attack them when asked if the Dutch scared him with their high-tempo football.
“Yeah, I am sacred, I am as scared as hell,” replied Hiddink.
“That is why we have to attack them, if you are in a position where you keep dropping further and further back, then you get even more scared.
“The only way is to attack when possible.”
Hiddink has made a habit of helping other national sides punch above their weight in football terms.
His most notable achievement was in steering joint 2002 World Cup co-hosts South Korea to the semi-finals.
He took Australia to the second round of the 2006 tournament, where they lost to a contentious penalty in time added on against 10-man Italy, who eventually won the title.
And Hiddink says he is trying to bring a Dutch-style game to Russia.
“The Russian team of recent has changed a lot, not just in the players, but also in the playing style,” he said.
“We have tried to install a kind of play like the Dutch where people can come and watch some attacking football.
“We have taken some small steps, but now we are meeting a giant.
“The approach won't be different, you are playing against one of the physically, and technically the best, teams in the world.”
Russia played exceptionally well to beat Sweden 2-0 in Innsbruck on Wednesday and reach the quarter-finals, with attacking midfielder Andrei Arshavin in superb form setting up the first goal and scoring the second.
But Hiddink says his team have had little time to prepare to face the Dutch.
He said: “We went back from Innsbruck to the team hotel in Leogang at 2am and because we had to fill up the tanks with energy, we sat down for dinner at 2.30am we had a bit of recovery on Thursday.
“The players didn't recover in the usual Russian style, they were very sober, hopefully.
“I just hope the batteries are fully charged for tomorrow.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!