Magic touch

1. Freedom
Captain Andrei Arshavin believes the freedom Hiddink gives his players off the field has been a key factor in creating a relaxed atmosphere. Where previous Russia coaches kept their charges under lock and key, Hiddink is happy to let them come and go as they please. Hence reduced pressure before a big game. "Under Hiddink, there is much more freedom in the team and I mean the kind of freedom you get off the pitch," Arshavin said. "In training, you must do as you're told, but outside the training ground no one controls us any more; no one imposes their requirements on us. It was different before."

2. Calm
Hiddink's calm, unflustered approach was also central to steadying the Russian ship at crucial moments of the qualifying campaign. Even when Russia trailed England 1-0 at half-time on 17 October, the Dutchman never lost his cool. "In contrast to many Russian coaches, Hiddink never panics and knows exactly what he wants," said Arshavin. "The best example was the England game. At half-time he was calm and businesslike. Guus said we would have the chance to turn the match around, as if he already knew."

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