Putin counts on Russian soccer players to play well at Euro 2004

Vladimir Putin expects the Russian soccer team to play well at Euro 2004 in Portugal. The Russian president said this at his meeting with chief coach of the Russian soccer team Georgy Yartsev.

The head of state congratulated Russian players on their victory over the Welsh team in the playoff. He also paid tribute to Georgy Yartsev. "This is your victory, you have managed to do a lot within such a short period of time," Putin said.

Late on Wednesday the Russian team beat the Welsh team 1-0 in Cardiff in the second leg of the playoff, thereby winning through to Euro 2004 in Portugal. Vadim Yevseyev scored the goal at the 22nd minute of the game. The first leg of the playoff in Moscow had ended in a draw 0-0.

Vladimir Putin confessed he had watched the game and enjoyed the way Russians were playing.

In a RIA Novosti interview President of the Russian Soccer Union Vyacheslav Koloskov made it clear that Georgy Yartsev would continue training the Russian team. Yartsev was appointed chief coach of the Russian soccer team, replacing Valery Gazzayev three matches before the group stage when Russia had few chances of making it to Portugal.

The Russian team will be playing at the European Championship for the first time since 1996.

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