Keeper upbeat for Russia hopes
Malafeev takes heart from Zenit's European triumph
Last Updated: June 2, 2008 6:22pm
Malafeev: Feeling hopeful
Viacheslav Malafeev feels Zenit St Petersburg's Uefa Cup success will boost Russia's chances at Euro 2008.
Zenit beat Rangers 2-0 in the Uefa Cup final last month and six members of the squad are in the Russian party for the upcoming European Championship.
Malafeev, who will be his country's second-choice keeper at the tournament, suggested confidence is now oozing through the international setup.
"Above all we gained experience of playing matches at the very highest level," reflected Malafeev in Sport Express.
"Plus we now have a much bigger conviction in our strengths."
Pavel Pogrebnyak, who is doubtful for the tournament due to a knee injury, has also taken heart from Zenit's European exploits.
The striker finished joint top scorer in the Uefa Cup last season and feels Zenit's success will make other countries sit up and take notice.
Pogrebnyak told sportsdaily.ru: "I am almost sure that people will look at us differently now.
"I don't even know whether this suits our team or not. But, all the same, they won't put us among the favourites."