Spain open their Euro 2008 campaign on Tuesday, when they face Guus Hiddink’s Russia.
The two are familiar opponents in this competition, having met each other in the first round of games at Euro 2004. One goal was enough for the Spaniards on that occassion, with Juan Carlos ValerÃ³n striking home after an hour to seal the three points.
However, neither side made it out of their group in that tournament, so both sets of fans will not want history to repeat itself completely.
However, things have changed since then, and both teams are arguably much stronger. As English fans will know, Russia qualified in second place from Qualifying group E.
However Russia have been dealt a blow as injury has ruled striker Pavel Pogrebnyak out of the tournament.
It has been a bad few weeks for the Zenit St Petersburg player also missed the UEFA Cup final against Rangers through suspension.
Pogrebnyak picked up a knee cartilage problem during Russia’s 2-1 friendly triumph ober Serbia, after scoring the opener for his side. Having struggled with the injury since, he has not been able to recover.
Luis Aragones’s side have no real injury doubts at this time.
The two sides have met 3 times in-all in Euro tournaments with Spain winning 2. The other contest ended in a draw.
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