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SOCHI, February 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has come to Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome to support the Russian ice hockey team in Sunday’s Group A preliminary round game with Slovakia at the Sochi Olympics.
The Slovak team has already been defeated by the teams from the United States (1:7) and Slovenia (1:3). The Russian team lost to the United States 2:3 in a men’s Group A second preliminary round game after a series of penalty shots (0:0, 1:1, 1:1, 0:0, 0:1) on Saturday.
Today, the Russian team has good chances to qualify for quarterfinals for the second place in its group, skipping an additional game. To do that, the Russian team will have to either to beat the Slovak team scoring by five more goal than the latter or to wait a match between the Canadian and Finnish teams later on Sunday. If that match ends in a victory of one of these teams in regulation, Russians will qualify for the quarterfinals with number four.
However, in the event the Russian team beats the Slovaks and the United States is beaten by the Slovenians, the Russian team may become the leader in Group A.
On Saturday, President Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Ivanov came to Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome to support the Russian ice hockey team, which was playing with the United States. Putin watched the game together with President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach.
The Russian however lost to the Americans 2:3.
Nonetheless, Putin stressed that the Russian team was playing decently. “Sport is sport. I think our team was playing well. And to my mind, they [the Russia team” is somewhat higher in its class,” he said after the match. “Let us wait and see. Key games are ahead. Let us with them success.”
Earlier on Sunday, Putin watched men’s cross-country 4x10 km relay race. Russian cross-country skiing team - Dmitry Yaparov, Alexander Bessmertnykh, Alexander Legkov, and Maxim Vylegzhanin -- won silver in that race. The gold medal was taken by the Swedish team and bronze went over to France.
The Russian team was a silver medalist at the world cross-country skiing championship in 2007 and the bronze medalist at the championship of 1993, 2005m and 2013. The Soviet Union’s team got the gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1956, 1972, and 1980, the silver medals in 1984 and 1988, and the bronze medals in 1960, 1964, and 1976.