Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin and former Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink have pledged their support to Russia's female national team ahead of the UEFA Women's European Championships in Finland this summer. Russia face Sweden, England and Italy in Group C from August 25, aiming to replicate the success of their male counterparts from 12 months ago, when Hiddink led his side to the semi-final stage of Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, losing to eventual winners Spain. Ahead of the finals, the Russian Football Union, website Russia.ru, online paper Days.ru and business publication The Sight have joined forces to launch the 'Be a fan of Russia at EURO 2009' campaign in a bid to gain public support for the women's team, coached by Igor Shalimov, who played for Russia 23 times from 1992-98. And Arshavin, who exploded on to the Premier League scene following his switch to Arsenal from Zenit St Petersburg during the winter transfer window - netting six goals in 12 league outings - has added his backing. "I will follow the tournament and will support Russia," he told uefa.com. While Hiddink added: "Women's football worldwide is growing and that is great. I'm sure that results in Finland will be historic. "I hope that more women will play football after these finals. Of course I wish Russia good luck."
16 June 2009
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