Russia’s 4-1 thrashing of the Czech Republic at Euro 2012 came easily, striker Roman Pavlyuchenko said on Saturday. Pavlyuchenko made an immediate impact after replacing the misfiring Alexander Kerzhakov on 73 minutes, setting up Alan Dzagoev for Russia’s third and adding the fourth himself with a spectacular strike from the edge of the area.
“Everything came easily,” the former Tottenham Hotspur striker said after Friday’s game. “I think that today (Friday) we were stronger and luckier.” Russia was on form at both ends of the pitch, he said. “In defence we played well, and in attack we were a united team, that’s why the result turned out this way.”
Russia will now play co-hosts Poland on Tuesday and Greece on June 16, with both games to be played at the National Stadium in Warsaw. Pavlyuchenko joined Lokomotiv from English club Tottenham Hotspur in the winter transfer window after three and a half seasons in London.
He has scored twice in nine games for Lokomotiv, who finished a disappointing seventh in the Russian Premier League, leading to the dismissal of coach Jose Couceiro. Alan Dzagoev notched a brace with Roman Shirokov and Roman Pavlyuchenko grabbing one each as Russia went two points clear at the top of the group following the earlier 1-1 draw between co-hosts Poland and Greece.
For the Czechs though, Vaclav Pilar’s strike was scant consolation from a poor showing. Russia seemed disjointed at the beginning and it was the Czechs who bossed the opening exchanges as Dick Advocaat’s team struggled to find their rhythm.
A clever backheel from Arshavin set Yuri Zhirkov free at the byline and his cross found Aleksandr Kerzhakov, but he couldn’t direct his side-footed finish on target. Yet within 60 seconds Russia were in front.