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Russia plays below its capabilities at 2020 UEFA Euro Cup, says sports minister

The Russian football team is currently second in its Group B with three points after two matches played

MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS/. The Russian national football team’s performance at the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup is currently below the level of its capabilities and the team’s work will be evaluated after the tournament, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin told TASS on Monday.

The Russian football team is currently second in its Group B with three points after two matches played and is set to play Denmark at 10:00 p.m. local time in Copenhagen on June 21. Russia kicked off its 2020 Euro Cup campaign with 0-3 defeat against Belgium and 1-0 win over Finland.

"I’m not going to say something original, but to sum it up - it [the game of the Russian national team] leaves much to be desired and it is not inspirational," Matytsin said in an interview with TASS. "I’m sure that all these emotions, which are our football fans and the professional sports society experience, will help to give extra energy to our national team."

"However, our national team is currently playing below the level of its capabilities and the post-tournament evaluation might help to determine the cause of this problem," the Russian sports minister said.

"Our team needs to exert maximum efforts in order to fulfill its task of clearing the group stage of the tournament," he continued. "I hope that it will be the task of a low-level prerogative for our team, because the high-level prerogative is about qualifying for the stage of the tournament’s quarterfinals."

"I’m not going to say that we have a super-strong team, but the recent match between Denmark and Belgium [1-2 on June 17] makes us think that the level of the team’s play is shaped up, among other things, by the team’s spirit, mutual understanding, motivation and the drive for win."

"This is what the Danish team had demonstrated with its beautiful game and the first goal [against Belgium] and we should hope that our team will be able to show it as well," the minister added.

2020 UEFA Euro Cup

The 2020 UEFA Euro Cup, which was postponed last year over the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, runs between June 11 and July 11, 2021 and Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg was picked as one of its venues. It was among the 12 cities initially proposed in Europe to host European championship matches. St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three group stage matches and one of the quarterfinals of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup.

On April 23, St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three additional matches of the UEFA Euro Cup after Ireland’s Dublin and Spain’s Bilbao pulled out of the organization of the European football championship games citing anti-COVID-19 measures.

Following the pullout of Bilbao and Dublin from the list of the championship’s hosting cities, the rescheduled 2020 UEFA Euro Cup is now staged in 11 cities, namely in London, England; Munich, Germany; Rome, Italy; Baku, Azerbaijan; St. Petersburg, Russia; Bucharest, Romania; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Budapest, Hungary; Glasgow, Scotland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Seville, Spain.