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Atmosphere slightly tensed in Russian squad after UEFA sanctions — sports minister

June 15, 14:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW
UEFA announced earlier its decision to fine the Russian Football Union 150,000 euros ($168,200) over Russian football fans’ misconduct
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© Egor Aleev/TASS

MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. A suspended disqualification, imposed on the Russian national squad by UEFA on Tuesday over fans misconduct at last week’s match against England, casts a shadow on the atmosphere in the team ahead of its match against Slovakia, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Wednesday.

"The boys are fine and they keep practicing," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said in an interview with TASS. "They are in good mood and are focused on the upcoming match."

"However, UEFA’s decision on the suspended disqualification plays its role," Mutko said. "This is why the situation in the team is slightly tensed."

UEFA announced on Tuesday its decision to fine the RFU 150,000 euros ($168,200) over Russian football fans’ misconduct during their national team’s opening match of the 2016 Euro Cup against England last week.

The European governing body of football also issued a suspended disqualification for the Russian team, which means that the national squad would be disqualified from the major European football tournament in case of the repeated instance of Russian fans misconduct.

Russia is playing its second group stage match against Slovakia on Wednesday afternoon at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille.

The Russian sports minister said the Russian footballers could be more successful if they added up on the offense.

"On the whole, if we add up more of the offensive to the game they demonstrated against England, the Russian team will get the successful result," Mutko said. "We have no other variants in order to advance to the next stage [of the championship]."

"Today is a key match as everyone understands that there is no way to retreat for the Slovaks and for us as well," he added.

Slovakia lost its opening group stage match against Wales last Saturday 1-2 and currently ranked last with zero points in its Group B, which besides the Welsh team it shares with Russia and England. The Russian and English squads finished their June 11 match with 1-1 draw and each has one point in the group’s standings, topped by Wales with three points.

The 2016 UEFA Euro Cup in France from June 10 to July 10 has matches lined up in 10 different locations, namely in Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.

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