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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moment of Truth Arrives for Russians

APThe Russian squad taking part in a training drill at its base in Leogang, Austria, on Sunday. Russia faces one of the tournament favorites, Spain, on Tuesday.
NEUSTIFT, Austria -- Russia's chances of upsetting highly fancied Spain in its Euro 2008 opener Tuesday will be undermined by the absence of playmaker Andrei Arshavin and striker Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Arshavin is suspended, while Pogrebnyak has been ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Spain, on a 16-match unbeaten run, is favored to win the Group D tie in Innsbruck, but Andres Iniesta said the Russian setbacks would make little difference to how his team approaches the game.

"I don't think we should change our tactics because of what has happened," the midfielder told a news conference. "We need to concentrate on ourselves, and if we do that and play the way we can, we'll win.

"They have lost two important players, but Russia's strong point is their whole team, not any particular individuals."

Spain topped its qualifying group, before notching morale-boosting wins over world champion Italy and beaten finalists France in their Euro 2008 buildup.

But despite having Fernando Torres, David Villa and Primera Liga top-scorer Dani Guiza in its ranks, goals have been hard to come by, with Spain scoring more than once in only one of their last five matches.

To rectify the situation, coach Luis Aragones appears to have decided to play Torres and Villa up front rather than a lone striker.

The two-man attack is likely to mean no place for Cesc Fabregas in midfield, while Brazilian-born Marcos Senna is favorite to get the nod over Xabi Alonso as the holding player.

Russia coach Guus Hiddink refused to get too downcast about the loss of Arshavin and Pogrebnyak.

"I can't complain and start crying," he said. "I have confidence ... the rest of the team can cover.

"I want to see a very, very bright team. People like to see a team going forward and taking risks, and because of this there have been a few [tactical] changes recently."

The role of striker is likely to fall to Roman Pavlyuchenko, who netted twice in the 2-1 win over England in October that paved the way for qualification.

Pavlyuchenko has struggled for form at club level of late, and was dropped to the Spartak Moscow reserves in April after being red-carded for dissent.

But he has been finding the net for the national side in warm-up matches, scoring against Serbia and Lithuania.