After topping a major tournament qualifying group for the first time in five attempts, Dick Advocaat's Russia go to Poland and Ukraine looking to better their 2008 run to the semi-finals.
Semi-finalists in 2008, Russia approach UEFA EURO 2012 confident after topping a major tournament qualifying group for the first time in five attempts. That ensured no repeat of two years ago, when Slovenia claimed a surprise away-goals triumph in the FIFA World Cup play-offs. Unbeaten on their travels this time round, Dick Advocaat's side conceded four goals in ten qualifiers. It was their attack that illuminated UEFA EURO 2008, and Andrey Arshavin in particular. Suspended for the first two games, he returned to inspire them out of their group and then past the Netherlands. It took Spain to halt him.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Given the talent at the disposal of the coach and the relatively weak nature of their group, Russia came close to sabotaging their own passage to the finals. They only assured themselves of automatic qualification on the penultimate matchday with a 1-0 win away at Slovakia. That avenged the Slovaks' win on Russian soil on matchday two which left the two teams tussling with Ireland for top spot.
A win over the Irish in Dublin signposted Russian potential but there were slip-ups away to Armenia and at home to Ireland. Nonetheless, the defence was sturdy, giving up only four goals, while seven of 10 qualification matches ended in wins for Russia, the most impressive being the 6-0 mauling of Andorra on the final matchday.
PAST RECORD IN THE EUROS
1960 Winners 1988 Runners-up
1964 Runners-up 1992 Group stage
1968 Fourth place 1996 Group stage
1972 Runners-up 2000 Did not qualify
1976 Did not qualify 2004 Group stage
1980 Did not qualify 2008 Semi-final
1984 Did not qualify 2012 Qualified as group winners
Russia inherited the international legacy of the Soviet Union, who had a fine record in the tournament from its inception through its early incarnations. They were winners once, in the inaugural tournament in 1960, and reached the semi-finals at least on the next four occasions, finishing runners-up to Spain in 1964.
They were second again in 1988, to the Dutch, after a period of disappointment, but crashed out at the group stages in 1992, 1996 and 2004. Old form was recaptured during the reign of Guus Hiddink in 2008 when they reached the final four before being eliminated by eventual champions Spain.
Overall: P63 W37 D12 L14 F124 A60
Final tournament: P11 W4 D1 L6 F13 A20
Qualifying: P52 W33 D11 L8 F111 A40