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Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Sychev wins media plaudits
Russia fans in Moscow celebrate victory
Russia fans in Moscow celebrate victory

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"We are alive and kicking ... Carthage is destroyed ... How young Dima Sychov pecked the Carthage Eagles" - these are the headlines from the Russian newspapers after Wednesday's 2-0 victory over Tunisia.

Further in to the reports, however, it was clear that Oleg Romantzev's team have a long way to go to ensure qualification.

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Things got a bit better after half-time, especially after Sychev came on
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Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Regular match updates were relayed to a session of the Russian parliament by the speaker, Gennadiy Seleznev, and members greeted the speaker's reports with prolonged applause.

Passions were running high in the city of Vladimir, as well, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported.

"One man invited a friend to watch the opening match but, when he got bored and changed the channel, his guest got so angry that he beat him with his fists and feet and then with the television, and then killed him off with a knife.

"Investigators say the murderer is showing no remorse and just keeps asking them how subsequent matches are going."

The paper was unimpressed overall with the Russian team's performance.

"There were some pretty choice phrases being directed at the players from our stands, especially in the first half, when the Russians could not get any kind of advantage," the Gazeta reported.

"Things got a bit better after half-time, especially after Sychev came on.

"Dmitry [Sychev] may not have scored, but it was his workrate in attack that changed the whole picture of the game for our side.

"But we won't underestimate the help we got from the Jamaican referee. His preference for our side was clear."

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The Jamaican referee did his job for our team as no one has done for a long time
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Vremya Novostey

"There is hope for us now," the northern Pravda Severa concluded, agreeing that it was Sychev's substitution which turned the match.

"All the supporters' hopes are now with him. And the surprising thing is that they all came true ... Sychev has instantly transformed himself into a football icon.

"The latter stages were spoiled by some incoherent defensive play by the Russian side, but all the same the team held on to the lead and gave its supporters hope for further success.

"It's just a pity it is not a certainty."

Vremya Novostey thought Celta Vigo midfielder Valery Karpin deserved to be singled out.

"He was no less deserving [than Sychev] of the man of the match award, not only for the penalty and his good play in attack but for rescuing us in defence."

The paper agreed that the Russians had plenty of help from the referee.

"The Jamaican referee did his job for our team as no one has done for a long time, leaving the Tunisian fans to wonder in amazement what he was up to."


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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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