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Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
No excuses from Souayah
Gabzi takes the ball from Solomatin
Tunisia suffered from bad luck in front of goal
Tunisia coach Ammar Souayah has conceded his side were always struggling in their first game of the World Cup as they went down 2-0 to Russia.

"We had a lot of problems," Souayah admitted.

"Russia are a very physical team."

Jaidi goes down
Tunisia's players often went to ground too easily
Tunisia have now scored only one goal in nine international matches.

Although their attacking play was often crisp, a combination of poor finishing and bad luck saw Tunisia draw yet another blank.

And Souayah said that conceding two goals in quick succession had meant his team had faced a near impossible task.

"It's true that we held out well for an hour but we conceded two quick goals against a very strong and experienced Russian team," he said.

"It was difficult for us to come back."

But despite his side's comfortable win, Russia coach Oleg Romantsev insisted that Tunisia had impressed him.

"I think they have a good team," he said.

"All they have to do is stop thinking about the score today.

"If they stop doing this and start to relax I think Belgium will have a problem."

Meanwhile, Tunisia's Jaziri sent out a word of comfort for the other teams - Japan and Belgium - in Group H.

"The strong thing about Russia was their short passes and lots of movement," he said.

"Their physical presence was also quite strong, but with our technical qualities we could pass through them.

"Their defence was very slow. It wasn't hard to dribble past them."

"We are disappointed because we played only for victory or a draw.

"But now we just have to concentrate on making the next match better for us."


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RUSSIA V TUNISIA
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 SQUAD PROFILES

GROUP H
  P GD PTS
JAPAN 3 +3 7
BELGIUM 3 +1 5
RUSSIA 3 0 3
TUNISIA 3 -4 1




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