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Why Russia and its soccer team are losing

I was satisfied with dismissing halfback Mostovoi from Russian team on the eve of the game with Portuguese team at EURO-2004.
I was thinking that from now on coach Yartsev had no chance of not allowing capable forward Sychev on the field.

Sychev has some talent in soccer. However, we are used to the principle of not letting the talented in instead of cherishing them. Sychev was not allowed to do his best in the game with Spanish team, he was let on the field only in the very end of the game.

Like halfback Mostovi, forward of the USSR national team Fedor Cherenkov used to be also expelled from the national team (three times on the eve of the world championship, in addition, he was allowed to participate in no European championships). Nevertheless, he never said a bad word about the coaches of the USSR team. The team belongs to the state, and it solves the tasks of the state. What if we make some changes to allow soccer to manage the state instead of the state’s managing soccer? Why not? In the USA the state manages business successfully. Maybe soccer players can be good managers. We were laughing that US President Reagan had been an actor, but he succeeded in his “star wars”.

”The team consists of 23 players, and the outcome of the game cannot depend on one person – of course, if he is not Zidan”, said halfback Radimov supporting the team management decision to expel halfback Mostovoi. I recall famous Soviet footballer Streltsov, who was better than Zidan, but was put to jail by Stalin a day before the world championship, and even today we do not understand, what for. 

I never think that coach Yartsev is a Stalinist. However, he uses similar principles in his coaching practice. Since Stalin’s execution of Red Army commanders we have been following the principle: every specialist can be replaced. Look at Russian Minister of Sports – he has supported dismissing Mostovoi from the team. As if Minister Fetisov and coach Yartsev are forwards of Russian team. They are like Soviet leader Khrushchev who was the main “cosmonaut” in the USSR, not Gagarin.

It is not surprising that we lost another “game” – with Americans, and lost our own country. Portugal hosting Euro Championship is a special symbol for us. We set the purpose – to overtake Portugal in GDP, and why not order Russian soccer players to beat Portuguese team? For the coaches, this grand desire was much more important than some “forward pupil” Mostovoi. Coca-Cola brand costs about $80 billion. How much does “Russia’s brand” cost? There are estimates, that not much more than Coca-Cola’s one. This is as surprising as the fact that Boeing company budget is bigger than the budget of Russia.

Some Russian media wrote that Mostovoi accused Yartsev of placing forward Bulykin in the national team only because he wants to improve the reputation of this mediocre forward, sell him abroad and receive a certain commission for this.

Valery Davydov