Yartsev takes blame while inspired Portuguese prepare for Spain

Georgy Yartsev, the head coach of the Russian national team, commenting on Russia's loss to Portugal in the European Championships, admitted that not every player contained their emotions, especially in the first minutes of the match.

"But I do not want to name the players," he said at a press conference after Russia's 2-0 loss to Portugal, which effectively eliminated the Russian team. "Everyone lost, and this is true, first of all for me."

"I always follow one principle: never insult the players," he said. "The responsibility lies on the coach, and I fully accept it. I am responsible for the performance of the players that were invited to join the national team for Euro 2004."

Portugal's Brazilian head coach Luis Felipe Scolari said that some of his tactical novelties prevented the Russian team from using its trump cards, primarily high-speed play on the wings.

According to Scolari, he intentionally moved Figo to the left wing "in order to prevent the Russians from organizing active attacks there."

Portuguese midfielder Maniche was voted the best player of the match (he scored the winning goal in eighth minute) admitted that it was very difficult to play against the Russians. "But we scored goals in time," he emphasized. (Portugal scored its second goal scored while Malafeyev was in goal. Malafeyev replaced Ovchinnikov, who was sent off for a hand ball outside the goal box. The incident only stressed Russia's poor performance.)

Rui Costa said after the game that "the win over the Russians will add to the team's confidence before the decisive game against Spain." To reach the quarterfinals, Portugal, the host of Euro 2004, must win against Spain. (The French team, which beat England in the last seconds of injury time in a dramatic match, won the last European Championship.

The last games in Group A will be on Sunday, June 20. The Russians will play Greece in Faro, while Portugal and Spain will compete in Lisbon.

The Greeks and the Spaniards currently have 4 points each and the Portuguese have 3. Russia's national team became the first team not to qualify for the next round of Euro 2004. It was really an unpleasant surprise for millions of Russian fans!

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Author`s name: Editorial Team