July 24 through August 1, Moscow will be playing host to the 2004 European junior American football championships, with 500 players to take part.
Viktor Ivanov, President of Moscow's American Football Federation, said at a preview press conference that the Russian squad had every reason to hope for success in this tournament.
"Over the past eight years, the Russian team has made a stride forward, scoring [several major] victories. In 2000, we won silver at the European championships and in 2002 we took gold. This became possible thanks to the fact that a number of football schools had opened in Moscow by then," Ivanov said.
According to Vasily Dobryakov, head coach of the Russian junior squad, the forthcoming football tournament will bring together players from Denmark, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Austria, Finland, and Sweden.
The Russian team, Europe's defending champion, is the main favorite of this tournament, Dobryakov said. He also singled out the Germans, saying that American football was developed in their country better than elsewhere in Europe. Particularly impressive is the physique of the German footballers, 190 centimeters tall and weighing 95 kilograms on the average, noted the Russian coach. He then went on to praise Scandinavian teams for their good discipline and fighting spirit and the French for their speed and coordination.
Russia will play with Denmark in tonight's opening match.
Since the likes of the traditional Inauguration Day in the national Capitol are likely never to be witnessed again, take this opportunity from one who has been there to relate some truth about the experience