Russia coach Guus Hiddink will take injured striker Pavel Pogrebnyak to the European Championship even if he can't play in the team's opening match against Spain next week.
|Russia will be missing spearhead Pavel Pogrebnyak |
for their opening match [GALLO/GETTY]
Pogrebnyak went to a hospital for scans Tuesday after injuring his left knee in Russia's 2-1 friendly win over Serbia last week, but Hiddink is not thinking about a replacement despite Russia playing Spain next Tuesday in Innsbruck, Austria.
"He is working with the physio," Hiddink said.
"We will not push him to the limit for one match. Even if he is out of the Spain match, he is not going anywhere. I am not going to call anyone as cover for him.''
Pogrebnyak, who was joint top scorer in this season's Uefa Cup with 10 goals for Zenit St. Petersburg, feels his meniscus injury is improving.
"My knee is aching a bit but I feel better now,'' Pogrebnyak said on Uefa's website.
"I am recovering and working hard and I want to play at the European Championship very much.''
Hiddink will also be without suspended forward Andrei Arshavin to play Spain and then Greece on June 14.
Russia plays Lithuania in Germany in a friendly on Wednesday before travelling to its camp in the Austrian Alps. It will also play Sweden in Group D.
Iniesta struck down with illness
Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta spent Tuesday in the hospital with food poisoning although his condition improved during the day.
Iniesta was admitted to Madrid's Cemtro Clinic after having tests following his bout of gastroenteritis the previous night, Spanish team physician Dr. Jorge Candel said.
"He is in (the) hospital to undergo treatment. At first, he couldn't take in liquids and we had to rehydrate him,'' Candel added.
The FC Barcelona midfielder will miss Spain's friendly with the United States on Wednesday in Santander, although Candel said he may be able to travel to the northern city to rejoin the squad that day.
Candel said Iniesta should recover in time for Spain's match against Russia in Innsbruck, Austria, on June 10.
"If it were this Saturday we would have difficulties but we have room to get him better,'' Candel said.