How did they get there: Dramatically at England's expense. Lost 3-0 at Wembley but then in the next game turned around a 1-0 deficit to beat England 2-1 in Moscow. Lost in Israel when a win would have wrapped it up, but then beat Andorra as England were losing at home to Croatia and went through second in Group E.
Manager: Guus Hiddink. The veteran Dutch coach led Netherlands to the World Cup semi-finals in 1998, South Korea to the same stage in 2002 and Australia to the knockout round in 2006. Has unfinished business with the Euros after his Dutch team were hammered 4-1 by England in 1996.
Captain: Andrei Arshavin. Plays the second striker role and gets into great positions as he is given a free role to roam around. Arshavin was superb as Zenit St Petersburg won the Uefa Cup, but he is suspended for the first two games of Euro 2008 after being sent off against Andorra in qualifying. A potentially critical blow.
Euro highlights: As the Soviet Union, they won the inaugural competition in 1960 thanks to the great Viktor Ponedelnik's extra-time winner against Yugoslavia and then lost the final in 1964, 1972 and 1988. As Russia they have fared less well, failing to get beyond the group stages in 1996 and 2004.
Euro legend: Lev Yashin (Soviet Union). Arguably the world's greatest ever goalkeeper, Yashin helped his country win the European Nations' Cup, as it was called in 1960 and was named in the Uefa team of the tournament both then and four years later. Since 1994, the best keeper at the World Cup finals wins the Yashin Award.
Star man: Arshavin, Arshavin, Arshavin - which just makes it all the more galling he might only play one game at the tournament. His fabulous talents were in evidence as Zenit St Petersburg won the Uefa Cup at the expense of Rangers.
Strengths: Hiddink's valuable tournament experience should hold them in good stead and he is not averse to springing a surprise at the helm of a lesser-fancied country. They will not be expected to pull up any trees, but their group gives them a chance to progress.
Weaknesses: A lack of genuine world-class footballers. In Arshavin's absence Hiddink must get the best out of a group of workmanlike players - look at a list of where they all play and you will not see many of Europe's so-called bigger clubs.
World ranking: 24th.
Our verdict: If anyone can produce results it is master-manager Hiddink, but the loss of Arshavin will hit Russia hard and defeat to Spain in their opening game could spell trouble for their campaign. The final group clash with Sweden will be decisive.
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