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Russian deputy premier thanks fans for supporting Russian team after defeat

June 23, 0:31 UTC+3 KAZAN

"It is absolutely clear that the Portuguese are head and shoulders above, that they are in a class of their own," Vitaly Mutko said

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KAZAN, June 22. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko on Thursday thanked Russian fans for cheering in support of the national team after it lost 0:1 to Portugal on Wednesday.

"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to fans, who applauded the team. The players did not run away from the field (right after the game) because they could see that their efforts and work were appreciated. Believe me, with an attitude like this, victories are a sure thing," he said.

"It is absolutely clear that the Portuguese are head and shoulders above, that they are in a class of their own," he added. "I have always been impressed by Cristiano Ronaldo, and yesterday is no exception. He always appears just exactly where he should be. He is a unique player, the number one in the global football."

"Georgi Dzhikiya had an opportunity to score on the last minutes of the game, if only his ball had flown a couple of centimeters lower. And the mood would have been different then, with talks about how great our team was and how good our coach is. But he missed, and we are taking a completely different tone," the deputy prime minister continued.

After gaining four points, Portugal is now first in Group A, followed by Russia (three points), Mexico (one point) and New Zealand, who have not got any points yet.

In the next round of the tournament, due on June 24, Mexico will face Russia in Kazan, while New Zealand will play Portugal in St. Petersburg.

The Confederations Cup is taking place on June 17 to July 2 on four Russian stadiums - the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, the St. Petersburg Stadium, Sochi’s Fisht Stadium and the Kazan Arena.

Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.

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