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Jan Kozák

Russia players don't deserve disqualification - Kozak

15:26 BST 14/06/2016
Jan Kozak Slovakia
The Slovakia boss says that the trouble involving Russian supporters is "a pity" for the tournament and that their players and coach do not deserve to be sent home

Slovakia coach Jan Kozak says that Russia's players and coach do not deserve the potential Euro 2016 disqualification which has been threatened due to crowd trouble.

Russian supporters breached segregation to attack England fans following Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Marseille, resulting in a suspended expulsion from the tournament being handed down by Uefa on Tuesday.

But Kozak, whose side face Russia in Lille on Wednesday, insists that the Russian staff would be undeserving of such a punishment if their fans go on the rampage again.

"If there are things that I can't control then I don't think much about them but it's a pity because it's a great championship," he told a pre-match press conference. "In Bordeaux against Wales, it was one of the best experiences of my entire life and I hope the emotion [in Lille] makes for a great atmosphere.

"Football is for the people and the Russian players and coach would not deserve anything bad because it's all about football here."

Slovakia head into the game with Leonid Slutsky's side having lost their opening Group B fixture to Wales in Bordeaux and Kozak admits that changes will be made after the disappointing defeat.

"I already know my starting XI; all the players are fit and ready to play," he explained. "There will be changes in the line-up - not because some players disappointed me against Wales but I do need to make changes."

Defender Jan Durica responded to claims from Slutsky that Slovakia are favourites by insisting that his side are completely focused despite potential mind-games being employed by the Russian coach.

"There has been a claim that we are favourites, perhaps they are trying to push us into that position," he said. "The chances are the same for both teams since we start at 0-0. Players like Artem Dzyuba are in great form but we will not sell ourselves cheaply."

The meeting on Wednesday takes place at the Stade Pierre Mauroy at 15:00 CET, with Russia holding a one-point advantage following the opening round of fixtures.

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