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Victory or Euro exit, Greeks in must-win tie

sports Updated: Jun 16, 2012 02:14 IST
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Russia will aim to storm into the Euro 2012 quarter-finals here on Saturday when they face bottom of the table Greece, after missing the chance to pop the champagne by drawing 1-1 with co-hosts Poland.

But Group A underdogs the Greeks will not be content to play the role of extras in the Russians' movie, aiming to bring some cheer to a homeland locked in a political and economic crisis.

A draw will suffice to clinch Dutch veteran Dick Advocaat's Russia a berth in the last eight, but they aim to display the form that enabled them to demolish the Czech Republic 4-1 in their tournament opener last Friday.

"We need to forget that a draw will also put us into the knockout stage and score. Once, twice... as much as we can," said goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev.

The Euro 2004 champions will be painfully aware that they are not masters of their destiny, even if they take three points on Saturday.

In the night's other match, between the Czech Republic and Poland in the southwestern city of Wroclaw, a draw or a win for either for would sink Greek hopes.

Against Poland last Friday in the opening game of Euro 2012, Greece, down to 10 men, battled back to draw 1-1 and only a penalty save by the Poles prevented a Greek victory. They come into the Russia match on the back of a 2-1 defeat to the Czechs on Tuesday.

Advocaat, who took over from compatriot Guus Hiddink in May 2010, has won plaudits for building a side with attractive, free-flowing play. A Euro 2012 success would be a fine way for him to bow out.