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Russians shocked after Greece loss
AFP
12:30 AEST Sun Jun 17 2012

Russia's media expressed a collective gasp of shock on Sunday after their much-trumpeted national team were dumped out of Euro 2012 by Greece after making the previous tournament's semi-finals.

"Shock -- there is no other word to describe," the Sovetsky Sport daily said in a sentiment express by many.

"To lose such a match to such a team -- one that essentially has only two star players -- you really do have to try hard to do that," it said with an irony aimed at putting the team to shame.

Greece may quibble about their capabilities but few in Russia seemed ready to find it in their hearts to forgive the national team for losing a match they had to only draw to progress to the knock-out stage in Poland and Ukraine.

"I don't know what to say about our football," Russia's ice hockey star Alexander Ovechkin of the NHL's Washington Capital tweeted after the match.

"Should I drag their names through mud or just stay quiet?!"

Complaints could in fact have been much louder had the papers published Sunday editions in Russia.

But the tone of anger and disgust was picked up strongly by top websites while even state television -- never shy about lauding the national team or finding excuses for their failings -- did little to hide the disappointment.

"Few were prepared to see their national squad go home after this match," the Vesti state news channel said on its website.

Russian Football Union boss Sergei Fursenko for his part suggested that the Andre Arshavin-led team would have done better had they faced tougher competition in a group that also featured Poland and the Czech Republic.

"As paradoxical as it may seem, we played better against better teams (such as) Germany and England," he told the Sport.ru website.

zak/phz


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