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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Salenko writes off Russia
Former Russia striker Oleg Salenko scored five goals against Cameroon
Salenko won the Golden Boot in USA 94
Former Russia striker Oleg Salenko has predicted his country will crash out of the World Cup in the early stages.

Salenko, who won the Golden Boot in USA 94, criticised Russia's "mediocre" coaches for failing to inspire the players.

"Russia's chances, even to qualify from their first-round group, are slight," Salenko told the Russian Sport-Express newspaper.

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We have very average players and our coaches are mediocre, which in the end leads to average results
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Oleg Salenko

"In my view, the problem lies not with the players, but rather with our coaches.

"They don't have basic football knowledge and their behaviour is even worse.

"They only know how to insult players and keep them behind closed doors at training camps.

"If they ever had a chance to coach abroad, I don't think these so-called 'football experts' would last very long."

Salenko lamented the fall in footballing standards since the break-up of the former Soviet Union.

He added: "Russia is not like the former Soviet Union when it comes to football.

"We have very average players and our coaches are mediocre, which in the end leads to average results.

"Much will depend on how well the experienced players, like Mostovoi and Karpin, will perform at the World Cup."

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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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