Presidential aide explains Russia's defeat at Euro 2004

The reason for the Russian national football team's defeat at Euro 2004 in Portugal is Russian soccer's coach crisis. This opinion was voiced on Friday by Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the Russian President's aide, who gave an interview to RIA Novosti.

Himself being a football fan for a long time, Yastrzhembsky said the Russian national team's defeat at Euro 2004 is a sore point for him. In his words, there was a group of soccer teams at the championship that were out of the total picture as they were not in line with high standards of modern football. "These are first of all Russia, Switzerland and Bulgaria. These are the three teams that did not distinguish themselves by anything," Yastrzhembsky said.

He noted the importance of Russia beating Wales in the qualifiers. "But there were no teams like Wales among the finalists. As of now, however bitter it may seem, this is the level, the bar which we can't clear today, as there seem to be objective reasons for that," Yastrzhembsky added.

In his opinion, the main reason for the Russian national team's defeat lies in the coach work. "I believe a coach crisis has existed in Russia for a long time. As of today, however bitter it may seem, we lack highly qualified modern coaches," he said.

He expressed perplexity at why a foreign expert cannot be invited to the Russian team. "These are some old-age stereotypes which I refuse to understand. The experience of inviting foreign specialists to other countries shows that this is justified," Yastrzhembsky said. He said that such a step will make it possible for Russian players to show another level of resolving certain football tasks.

"I believe the strategic problem is a lack of a qualified expert who could realize this potential we have. I cannot say it is very big, but it is enough to play decently," he said. In his opinion, it is not necessary to reach quarterfinals. "But we can play decently - so that others reckon with us. It's impossible to beat Portugal and Spain creating one or two moments for a match - it's total nonsense," he said.

In Yastrzhembsky's opinion, "changes must be made in football on the whole, as everything is changing." "And probably new ideas, new people, new football managers are needed. The managerial experience we had 10-15 years ago cannot be in demand today," he said.

Assessing Euro 2004, he said that a number of teams show the highest level of team skill. "There have appeared new stars, which enriches football. In fact, I believe the football Europe will have all grounds to remember this championship for a long time," Yastrzhembsky said.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team