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MARSEILLE /FRANCE/, June 11 /TASS/. All players of the Russian football team called in for the 2016 European Football Cup finals are ready for the first match, vs. England, the team’s head coach, Leonid Slutsky, told a news conference on Friday.
"All are ready for the match. Today, everybody is going to train in the common group," Slutsky said.
Earlier midfielder Dmitry Torbinsky has missed two training sessions because of a viral infection. Another midfielder, Denis Glushakov, trained according to an individual program because of a micro trauma.
The England-Russia encounter will start at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille at 22:00 Moscow time on Saturday. In the other match in Group B Slovakia will confront Wales.
Midfielders Igor Denisov and Alan Dzagoyev dropped out because of traumas at an earlier stage. Slutsky said the team’s newcomer - Germany’s Soviet-born Roman Neustaedter - was making good progress. He received his Russian passport on May 30. Asked if Neustaedter might be used as a defensive midfielder, Slutsky replied, "It is true that injuries have created some problems for us. We are still considering a likely alternative. You will see everything tomorrow."
"I am pleased with how Roman showed himself during the training sessions. He is a high-class footballer. He produced a good impression as a player and as a personality. I am glad he has joined our team," Slutsky said.
In December 2015, after the European Cup lots drawing ceremony England’s coach Roy Hodgson said he knew none of the Russian players.
"I can recite England’s line-up by heart. The most important thing is not what you know before the game, but what you know after," Slutsky said.
Asked why he preferred to keep secret the list of the players who will appear on the pitch in advance, contrary to what many other coaches do, Slutsky replied: "I believe that if we knew England’s starting lineup now, it would be far easier for us to get ready for the match. The situation is basically the same. Should we name the players now, the opponent would find it far easier to get ready. We believe that by keeping the list secret we create problems for the opponent," Slutsky said.
French media asked Slutsky if Russian forward Artyom Dzhuba had any prospects at Euro 2016.
"Last season he scored 29 goals in all matches he played, he was very successful while playing for the national team, too. He is tall and we have been trying to use his height and size to the best advantage," Slutsky said.
He believes, though, it is too early to say the game with England will be the most important of all in Dzyuba’s career.
"I have the feeling the whole nation will keep fingers crossed for us. We are very eager to make our fans happy by playing well and achieving a good result. Let’s discuss that (the importance of the match for the career) afterwards," Slutsky said.