Russia duo hail Hiddink
Dutchman praised for helping Russian resurgence
Last Updated: June 22, 2008 3:56pm
Hiddink: Backed by players
Russia duo Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Ivan Saenko have hailed the impact of Guus Hiddink after reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2008.
Hiddink masterminded Russia's impressive quarter-final victory over his native Holland as he got the better of the tournament favourites in Basel.
Russia will face either Italy or Spain in the last four as they look to reach next weekend's showpiece final.
Bilyaletdinov believes Hiddink deserves much of the praise for guiding Russia back among the European elite.
"He has shown us how it is possible to play," said Bilyaletdinov.
"He knew how we should play against Sweden and Greece (in the group stages) and then against Holland.
"He knows about our technical abilities, about our physical abilities, and what we need to do to win. He's a top coach.
"He said we must play our game. We are not scared of anyone now."
Midfielder Saenko admits Hiddink has given the side the confidence that they can beat anyone.
"We are playing our own style - quick, with short passes," noted Saenko.
"Our coach does not stop telling us that we can beat whichever team is put in front of us."
Holland defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst had no complaints with his side's exit, but he believes Russia have a weakness in defending set-pieces.
"On the night, I think Russia deserved to go through," said van Bronckhorst.
"We lost the ball in midfield a lot, and you can't lose the ball in those areas against them because they are very strong and quick there.
"At set-pieces, you can get at them and that's where we had our best chances and where we scored our goal from.
"But you have to stay together defensively. If you give them space, they will punish you."