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Fulham's Smertin: Russia have big advantage

Fulham midfielder Andrey Smertin says Russia's plastic pitch will be an advantage for them in Wednesday's Euro2008 qualifier against England.

"We have a good advantage and (Guus) Hiddink understands that," Smertin told the Daily Mail. "Our players are used to playing on artificial pitches. It is quite common in Russia because of the weather.

"I have played a few times on the Luzhniki pitch. It's noticeably different and it is dangerous because it's sticky under your feet. Plus it is a skilful pitch.

"They spray it with water before each half to make the ball zip. It's easier to play if you keep the ball. This favours Russia but the English have skilful players, too."

Smertin took advantage of a weekend off training to fly home to Russia but by the time England arrive in Moscow he will be back at Fulham.

"It's a shame, I would love to play in a big game like this - I have never played against England," he said.

Once again his emotions are under control. "It was my decision. There is no jealousy."

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