“We have worked well in training to try to counter the many qualities of Belgium,” said Stanislav Cherchesov, the Russian coach on Friday at a press conference.
Second in qualifying group I behind Belgium, Russia will find an opponent they know well. Beaten twice by the Red Devils in qualifying (3-1 in Brussels and 1-4 in Saint Petersburg), the Sbornaïa players hope to achieve a balance in the exchanges on Saturday.
To prepare as well as possible for this continental meeting, Russia played two preparation matches against Poland (1-1) and Bulgaria (1-0). “We had to deal with some absences but I think overall we have prepared well. We are ready to start this Euro.” A Belgian team that will be significantly different than that of the last clash between the two nations in November 2019. The Red Devils have indeed taken the road to Saint Petersburg without Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel who continue their rehabilitation in Tubize.
“Belgium has its problems and we have ours,” Cherchesov warned. “Despite the absences, it remains an excellent team with a very good coach. In addition, the majority of the group that participated in the 2018 World Cup is still present.” Russia will however be deprived of its winger Andrey Mostovoy, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, and who will be replaced by defender Roman Evgenyev. “All the other players, however, tested negative,” assured the Russian coach.