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Russians scoreless in Moscow brawl with Croatians

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Russia's soccer team played to a scoreless draw with Croatia in its first Euro-2008 qualifier in Moscow Wednesday night.
MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's soccer team played to a scoreless draw with Croatia in its first Euro-2008 qualifier in Moscow Wednesday night.

This was the second game for the Russian soccer team under the command of experienced Dutch Coach Guus Hiddink. The first game was a friendly match with Latvia in August, when Russia snatched a 1:0 victory in injury time.

In its battle to the Euro-2008 finals Russia, which plays in Group E, will have to face besides Croatia teams from England, Andorra, Estonia, Macedonia, and Israel.

Russia's national team failed to qualify for this year's World Cup in Germany, but Russian fans expect new coach Hiddink, who previously guided South Korea and Australia to unprecedented success, to take the side to the Euro-2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland.

President of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, said after the match he was disappointed that the Russian team failed to win an important home game against one of its main rivals on the way to the Euro-2008 finals.

"We must accomplish the task of making it to the Euro-2008 finals," he said, adding that Russia is a young and promising team.

Mutko did not criticize the Dutch coach for a rather disappointing result, saying "it is a hard task to build a team in two months."

Russia is ranked 33rd by FIFA in the latest monthly ratings, whereas England is fifth and Croatia is 21st.

Russia will host Israel in its next Euro-2008 qualifier on October 7.

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