Advocaat tells Russia: Qualify first, drink later

MOSCOW - Russia coach Dick Advocaat will allow his players to go on a drinking binge next week if they qualify for the Euro 2012 finals.

"[Next] Tuesday evening they can drink as much as they want," the Dutchman told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the decisive Group B qualifier in Slovakia on Friday.

Russia (17 points), who lead second-placed Ireland by two points with Armenia and Slovakia a further point adrift, then host last-placed Andorra in their final match next Tuesday.

Two years ago, the Russian media accused some of the national squad of drinking and smoking a hookah pipe ahead of a 2010 World Cup play-off second-leg tie in Slovenia.

After winning the first leg 2-1 in Moscow, the Russians, then led by Advocaat's compatriot Guus Hiddink, were eliminated on away goals after losing the return match 1-0 in Maribor.

The players vigorously denied the accusations with the Berezutsky brothers, Vasily and Alexei, taking their battle to court in order to clear their names.

Asked on Tuesday if the team would be allowed to smoke a hookah pipe ahead of the Slovakia match, Advocaat quipped: "They could smoke it next week [after playing Andorra]. Then, they could also drink what they want, I wouldn't mind."


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