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Russia face Lithuania on Wednesday in their final friendly before
Russia face Lithuania on Wednesday in their final friendly before Euro 2008 kicks off on June 7 with injured striker Pavel Pogrebnyak doubtful for not only the side's opening game against Spain, but also the entire tournament.

Pogrebnyak, who plays for Zenit St. Petersburg, was injured during Russia's 2-1 friendly win against Serbia in Germany last week.

The head of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, said on Tuesday that, "He [Pogrebnyak] will not be taking the field. That's 100%."

However, Russia's Dutch trainer, Guus Hiddink, said that he would not be calling up anyone to replace Pogrebnyak, raising hopes that the striker, who was in blistering form as his club lifted this season's UEFA Cup, would be available for later games at the tournament, to be held in Austria and Switzerland.

"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," Hiddink told a press conference.

Russia face Spain on June 10 in Innsbruck before taking on Greece in Salzburg on June 14. They then return to Innsbruck for what is likely to be a vital clash against Sweden on June 18. The top two teams from each group qualify for the play-off stages.

Pogrebnyak's teammate, Andrei Arshavin, has already been ruled out of the side's first two games after receiving a red card for violent conduct during Russia's final qualifying game against Andorra in November.

The loss of Arshavin - one of, if not the most talented Russian players of his generation - is a severe blow to Russia's hopes of making it out of their group at a major tournament for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The injury to Pogrebnyak could prove just as catastrophic.

Hiddink will look to use the Lithuania match to settle on a line up without two of his leading players.

Lithuania will be hoping that the game does not see a repeat of their recent friendly in the Czech Republic, when the Czechs mistakenly played the Latvian anthem, raised the Latvian flag, and featured Latvian players in the match program. Latvia and Lithuania are neighbors and their names do, admittedly, sound very similar in most Slavic languages.


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